Bloomberg News

Wheat Gains as Freezing Weather in Europe May Curb Production

February 07, 2012

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures gained for the first time in three sessions on speculation that cold weather in France, Germany and Ukraine will curb production.

Temperatures reached minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) in France’s Alsace and Lorraine regions yesterday, according to forecaster Meteo France. In northern Germany, where some areas lack snow cover, soil temperatures have dropped below minus 8 degrees Celsius, Deutscher Wetterdienst said. Cold weather in the so-called Black Sea region also has hurt crops.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the cold in Europe and in Russia and Ukraine,” said Larry Glenn, an analyst at Frontier Ag in Quinter, Kansas. “Traders still remember two years ago when everything was OK, then they had a terrible harvest. They remember how much any loss to production can mean to prices if it comes out of Europe and the Black Sea area,” Glen said in a telephone interview.

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to $6.6475 a bushel at 10:40 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has risen 2.1 percent this year.

Ukraine, the biggest grain grower in the Black Sea region after Russia, will need to replant at least half of its winter crops after freezing weather this week destroyed plants, Tetiana Adamenko, head of agro-meteorology at the country’s national weather center, said on Feb. 3.

Soil temperatures dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius for more than two days in the Dnipropetrovsk region, where 44 percent of planted grain failed to emerge after an autumn drought, Adamenko said by telephone from Kiev.

--With assistance from Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow and Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Millie Munshi

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net

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


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