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Wheat futures rose, heading for the biggest quarterly gain since 2012 on concern that rising tensions in Ukraine will delay shipments from the Black Sea.
Estonia said Russian President Vladamir Putin is readying to invade eastern Ukraine. The country already occupies Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and Ukraine will vote in two days on whether to allow for the region’s annexation. Russia is set to be the fifth-largest wheat shipper this year, just ahead of Ukraine, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
“Continued escalation of events there may hinder the normal export flow of Black-Sea wheat,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The risk is that supplies would be tightening and demand would be driven to other places.”
Wheat futures for May delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $6.8575 US a bushel at 10:46 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has advanced 4.2 percent this week and 12 percent since December, on pace for the biggest quarterly gain since September 2012.
Russia is outraged by a deadly clash in eastern Ukraine yesterday, though it has no plans to invade the region, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today.
The commodity entered a bull market on March 12, and rose 22 percent from a January low through yesterday.
Dry weather in the U.S., the largest grower, also is spurring today’s rally, Grow said. Almost 35 percent of the Midwest was rated abnormally dry as of March 11, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. More than half of the Great Plains will remain “under stress” as spring wheat growth expands, a Commodity Weather Group report said today.
Soybean futures for May delivery fell 0.8 percent to $13.85 a bushel. The price has slipped 5 percent this week, heading for the largest decline since June. China, the largest importer, has delayed shipments of about 500,000 metric tons, mostly from Brazil, according to a Bloomberg News survey of five crushers, traders and researchers.
Corn futures for May delivery dropped for a second straight day, losing 0.6 percent to $4.8225 a bushel.