Wheat Futures Climb Most in Week on Black Sea Supply Concerns

Aug 15, 2014 5:05 pm ET

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures rose the most in a week after mounting tensions between Ukraine and Russia fueled speculation that supplies from the Black Sea region will be disrupted. Corn posted the longest rally in almost six months.

Ukraine said its army destroyed part of a column of military vehicles that crossed the border from Russia, while Vladimir Putin denies any military presence in the country. The nations combined will account for a fifth of global wheat exports this year, the U.S. government estimates.

Prices tumbled in the three months ended July 31, the longest slump since 2012, as the U.S. government said global stockpiles will increase. Since touching a four-year low on July 29, futures climbed as much as 12 percent as the Ukraine standoff intensified and rain eroded crop quality in western Europe.

“Russia is a major exporter of wheat and will have less customers interested in buying their grain when fighting erupts,” Gordon Linn, the president of the Linn Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “U.S. grain prices are cheap and will be favored by more overseas buyers.”

Wheat futures for December delivery climbed 1.9 percent to close at $5.635 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Aug. 6. On July 29, the price touched $5.185, the lowest since July 7, 2010.

Corn futures for December delivery gained 0.9 percent to $3.77 a bushel. The price rose for the fifth straight day, the longest rally Feb. 20. The weekly gain of 3.7 percent was the biggest since March 7. On Aug. 12, the price touched a four-year low of $3.58.

Soybean futures fell 0.4 percent to $10.52 a bushel. This week, the price dropped 3 percent, the most in a month. The oilseed, used to make animal feed and cooking oil, yesterday touched a four-year low of $10.3875 amid forecasts that the crop will increase to a record in the U.S., the world’s top grower.

--With assistance from Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev.