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Wheat climbs as dry weather lingers over Kansas
NEW YORK—Wheat prices rose 2.6 per cent yesterday as questions persisted about how much dry weather has affected the crop in Kansas. The gain capped what has been a wild month for wheat. In the past two weeks, wheat prices have climbed to a high for the year and nearly hit a 2012 low, largely because of weather issues.
Wheat for July delivery ended up 17 cents Friday at US$6.80 per bushel. The US Agriculture Department said this week that about 43 per cent of the Kansas crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of May 20. That compared with 52 per cent the previous week. Northstar Commodity analyst Jason Ward said Kansas farmers have reported good protein levels and test weights on their winter wheat.
“The crop is definitely reduced but maybe not as much as we thought it would be,” he said. “With three straight weeks of heat like they’ve taken on, it probably could have been worse.” He said that any problems that occur likely will be in western Kansas. “That’s where the dryness is the worst,” Ward said. Global wheat supplies remain plentiful heading into this year’s harvest.
It has been that dry spell over the Midwest and dry weather in Russia that have bounced wheat prices in May. The price fell to US$5.97 per bushel on May 11, which was about a nickel more than the low of US$5.9225 per bushel that occurred in January. Then, it shot up to US$7.04 per bushel on May 21, which was a high for the year, before easing back into the US$6 range. For the month to date, the price is up about 3 percent.
In other July agricultural contracts, corn was unchanged to end at US$5.785 per bushel and soybeans rose six cents to US$13.82 per bushel. Most commodities were higher as investors adjusted their portfolios ahead of the Memorial Day weekend in case there are developments in Europe’s debt crisis or other parts of the world that will affect commodities when markets are closed.
Gold for June delivery rose US$11.40 to end at US$1,568.90 per ounce and July silver increased 22.9 cents to US$28.386 per ounce. July copper gained 1.95 cents to US$3.448 per pound, July platinum rose US$4.10 to US$1,426.50 an ounce and June palladium ended up US$2.50 at US$590 per ounce.
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