Bloomberg News

Wheat Drops on Russia Exports, Europe Rain; Corn, Soybeans Gain

June 01, 2011

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures fell to a two-week low as Russia prepared to lift an export ban next month and rains expected this week in Europe eased drought concerns. Corn and soybeans rose.

Russia, once the world’s second-biggest wheat exporter, will allow shipments starting on July 1. The ban was imposed in August after drought slashed crops. This year, France, Europe’s top grower, is suffering from the driest spring in 50 years, forecaster France Meteo said. Showers were expected this weekend after rain helped crops in Germany, Telvent DTN said.

“Russia opening the door for some exports was overhanging the market, but then we had the news about good rain in Europe,” said Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. “The change in the forecast to wetter paces the market, along with the Russian selling potential.”

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 23 cents, or 2.9 percent, to settle at $7.5925 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, bringing the two-day slide to 7.4 percent. Earlier, the price touched $7.5425, the lowest for a most-active contract since May 17.

Futures have jumped 68 percent in the past year after Russia cut exports and adverse weather limited output from the U.S. Great Plains to Australia.

Corn futures for July delivery rose 11 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $7.585 a bushel. The commodity has more than doubled in the past year on rising demand from makers of ethanol and livestock feed, while wet weather slowed U.S. planting.

Acreage, Yield Concerns

About 86 percent of the crop was planted as of May 29, behind the five-year average of 95 percent, the government said yesterday. Sixty-three percent of crops were in good or excellent condition, below the year-earlier rating of 76 percent. Farmers in the eastern Midwest, where rains were the most excessive, may take insurance instead of planting, Roose said.

“We’ve got concerns about both acreage and yield,” he said. “We still have almost 13 million acres of corn to plant, and we’re zeroing in on those prevented-planting dates in Indiana and Ohio.”

Soybean futures for July delivery climbed 10.25 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $13.8625 a bushel. The price has gained 49 percent in the past year.

U.S. planting was 51 percent complete as of May 29, behind the five-year average of 71 percent, the Department of Agriculture said.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at $38.9 billion, government figures show. Wheat was fourth at $13 billion, behind hay.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Daniel Enoch

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in Chicago at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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