Wheat Futures Rise as U.S. Freeze May Damage Crop; Corn Climbs

Jan 28, 2014 4:11 pm ET

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures rose for the first time in three sessions on concern that a freeze will damage some crops in the U.S., the world’s top exporter. Corn gained, while soybeans declined.

As much as 10 percent of wheat in the Great Plains and 2 percent in the southern Midwest may be hurt after some protective snow cover melted last week, Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a report. Hedge funds have bet on a price slump since November, government data showed.

“I don’t know how much real, serious winterkill threat there is,” Dave Norris, an independent grain broker in Harrogate, England, said in a telephone interview. “As long as the market keeps talking about it, with fund money still short and prices as low as they are, it probably will encourage them to cover some of their short positions.”

Wheat futures for March delivery climbed 0.4 percent to close at $5.66 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price dropped 1.1 percent in the previous two sessions. On Jan. 10, the grain touched $5.605, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 2010, on forecasts that global production will climb to a record.

Today, Egypt, the top importer, bought 180,000 tons of Russian grain and 60,000 tons of U.S. supplies in a tender.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $4.32 a bushel, a sixth straight gain and the longest rally since March 21. Cold weather halted farmer sales across the Midwest and slowed barge shipments of grain to export terminals near New Orleans.

Yesterday, premiums for corn delivered to New Orleans rose 2.6 percent to 80 cents over March futures, the highest spot delivery for the date since at least 2007, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show.

Soybean futures for March delivery declined 0.2 percent to $12.855 a bushel.

--Editors: Joe Richter, Millie Munshi