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Wheat Climbs for Sixth Days as Dwindling Russian Supply May Boost Demand


Wheat advanced for a sixth day to the highest price in more than three weeks as Russia may have to slow shipments of the grain as exportable supply declines. Corn and soybeans gained.

Wheat stockpiles held by farmers in Russia’s main exporting regions in the south have dropped below last year’s levels, declining as much as 50 percent in some areas, SovEcon, a Moscow-based agricultural researcher, said yesterday. The country banned exports in August 2010 after its worst drought in half a century. The ban was lifted in July.

“Russia could potentially put some export curbs in place, but nothing is for certain,” said Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London. “For grains we have quite a bit of fundamental support.”

Wheat for March delivery climbed 1.8 percent to $6.525 a bushel at 11:07 a.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price rose to $6.53 earlier today, the highest since Jan. 4. A close higher would mark the longest winning streak since prices gained for eight straight sessions ending on Dec. 28. Milling wheat for March delivery advanced 0.6 percent to 209.25 euros ($275.44) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in Paris.

Inventories with farmers in the Krasnodar region, home to Russia’s main export hub at Novorossiysk, have halved, SovEcon said. In the Southern Federal District, farmers held 40 percent less grain than in 2011, while inventories held by producers in the Rostov region fell 42 percent, it said.

Exports Slowdown

Russia’s three major grain-exporting provinces have shipped most of their supplies and that will lead to a “dramatic” slowdown in shipments from now through June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said Jan. 19. U.S. wheat inspected for export gained 27 percent in the week ended Jan. 19 from a week earlier, the USDA said Jan. 23.

Corn advanced for a sixth straight day, the longest winning streak in four weeks, as crop losses from a drought in Mexico deepened, potentially boosting demand for U.S. supplies. The country is the world’s second-largest importer after Japan and the second-biggest buyer of U.S. corn.

Acreage damage almost doubled after the worst drought on record. Losses covered 1.15 million hectares (2.8 million acres) as of Dec. 31 for the season ending in March, compared with 630,170 hectares a year earlier, according to data from the nation’s Agriculture Ministry posted yesterday.

Corn for March delivery gained 1.3 percent to $6.425 a bushel. Soybeans for delivery in the same month rose 0.9 percent to $12.25 a bushel in Chicago.

(Courtesy Bloomberg)

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