Wheat, Corn Futures Rise as U.S. Exports Jump in Week; Soy Gains

Jan 30, 2014 3:42 pm ET

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures rose from a 42-month low and corn posted the biggest gain in almost three weeks as exports increased from the U.S., the world’s top grain shipper. Soybeans climbed.

Export sales of wheat in the week ended Jan. 23 surged 89 percent, and corn more than doubled, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. Grain futures tumbled in the past 12 months amid forecasts for record-high global output.

“U.S. grain is one of the cheapest supplies in the world, and that has helped to improve exports,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “Demand is improving and farmers have been reluctant sellers, causing an artificial tightness.”

Wheat futures for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to close at $5.535 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Yesterday, the price touched $5.50, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 14, 2010.

Corn futures for March delivery jumped 1.4 percent to $4.335 a bushel, the biggest gain since Jan. 10. The price in January headed for the first monthly increase since August.

Since Oct. 1, the average U.S. cash corn price traded from $3.94 to $4.31 a bushel, according to data from the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. During that time, the discount of March futures to the May contract fell 25 percent to 6 cents a bushel as farmers withheld supplies, Roose said.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $12.75 a bushel, snapping a two-day slump.

Weekly export sales rose 28 percent from a year earlier, government data showed.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, hay and wheat, USDA figures show.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Joe Richter