Wheat Gains for Second Day as U.S. Exports Climb; Soybeans Rise

Jan 31, 2014 3:58 pm ET

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat prices rose for a second day on signs of increasing demand for grain from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soybeans and corn also gained.

Export sales of wheat in the week ended Jan. 23 surged 89 percent from a week earlier and were more than double a year ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday. Japan, South Korea, Nigeria and the Philippines were the primary buyers. Prices that fell 29 percent in the past year and reached a 42-month low this week are attracting consumers.

“U.S. wheat is finally competitive on the world markets, and overseas buyers are beginning to stock up,” Jerry Gidel, the chief feed analyst for Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We may have reached a price where food and feed demand will improve.”

Wheat futures for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to close at $5.5575 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price dropped 8.2 percent this month, after tumbling 9.5 percent in December. The grain touched $5.50 on Jan. 29, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 2010.

Global production will reach 707 million metric tons in the season that ends in 2014, higher than a November forecast of 698 million tons because of improving harvests from Canada to China, the London-based International Grains Council said yesterday. The agency also raised its outlook for world corn output to 959 million tons from 950 million.

Soybean futures for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to $12.8275 a bushel on the CBOT. Prices dropped 0.8 percent in January, a second monthly decline, as rains boosted the yield potential in South America. Brazil has started shipping soybeans from newly harvested fields this week.

Corn futures for March delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $4.34 a bushel in Chicago. Prices rose 2.8 percent in January, the first monthly gain since August, amid improving demand, after tumbling 40 percent in 2013.

--With assistance from Whitney McFerron in London and Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne. Editors: Steve Stroth, Joe Richter