Wheat futures fell, extending a slump to a five-month low, on signs that demand is waning for exports from the U.S., the world’s top shipper. Corn and soybeans also declined.
As of Dec. 13, U.S. exporters shipped 12.8 million metric tons of wheat for delivery in the 12 months that started June 1, down 13 percent from a year earlier, Department of Agriculture data show. Importers opted for grain from producers including Russia and Australia. Droughts that limited production in those nations haven’t spurred demand for U.S. supplies yet.
“Everybody thought we were going to run out of wheat a month ago, and it turns out countries that were supposed to run out still have wheat,” Tomm Pfitzenmaier, a partner at Summit Commodity Brokerage in Des Moines, Iowa, said by telephone. “Ultimately, that demand is going to come back to the U.S., but every week that goes by without that happening, my optimism fades.”
Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $7.7225 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $7.645, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 2. This month, the price has tumbled 11 percent, heading for the biggest drop since September 2011. The commodity has climbed 18 percent this year.
Corn futures for March delivery slid 0.3 to $6.915 a bushel in Chicago. This month, the price has dropped 8.1 percent, poised for the largest decline since May. The grain has climbed 7 percent this year.
Soybean futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to $14.14 a bushel. The price has gained 17 percent this year.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, hay and wheat, USDA data show.
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