Wheat Posts Longest Slump in 15 Years on Global Supply Outlook

Jun 02, 2014 3:55 pm ET

June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures fell, capping the longest slide since 1998, as favorable weather boosted harvest prospects for winter varieties in the U.S., Russia and Ukraine, while spring planting progressed in North America.

Fields from Oklahoma to Nebraska got as much as 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) of rain from May 30 to June 1, bolstering plants for harvest this month, World Weather Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas, said in a report. Precipitation boosted crops in Ukraine, western Russia and Belarus. Spring-wheat seeding accelerated amid drier weather in the northern Great Plains and Canadian Prairies, while sowing advanced in Australia.

“Wheat crops have seen the benefit of recent rain to boost U.S. yield potential,” Darrell Holaday, the president of Advanced Market Concepts in Wamego, Kansas, said in a telephone interview. “Planting-delay concerns are easing, and there are very few significant global production concerns.”

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 1 percent to close at $6.2075 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $6.1625, the lowest for a most-active contract since March 3.

The grain fell for the ninth straight session, the longest slump since Sept. 1, 1998. In May, wheat tumbled 13 percent, the most since September 2011.

U.S. spring planting was 86 percent complete as of June 1, up from 74 percent a week earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Planting was 80 percent completed a year earlier, according to the Department of Agriculture. The agency will release its crop-progress report today. The nation is the world’s top exporter.

Ukraine Agriculture Minister Ihor Shvayka said today that the industry has been unaffected by turmoil in the region, and planting of spring crops is almost complete in eastern and southern areas.

Corn futures for July delivery fell 0.1 percent to $4.655 a bushel on the CBOT. Earlier, the price touched $4.6025, the lowest since Feb. 28.

Soybean futures for July delivery gained 0.5 percent to $15.005 a bushel, the third gain in four sessions.

--With assistance from Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev.