Wheat jumps to 2-week high on U.S. crop woes, corn falls

SINGAPORE, Mar 17:   Chicago wheat rose for a second day on Tuesday, hitting its highest since March 2 as a lack of rain in the US grain belt threatened the dormant winter crop.     US corn fell for a fourth straight session, pressured by a Chinese move to import the grain from rival exporter Ukraine. Soybeans ticked up after falling earlier in the session to their lowest since early February.
‘There is more upside potential for wheat prices, the US crop badly needs rainfall but not much is forecast,’ said Kaname Gokon, general manager of research at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo.
‘We expect the May contract to rise above $5.20 a bushel.’     Chicago Board of Trade May wheat had risen 0.4 percent to $5.16-1/4 a bushel by 0212 GMT, just below the session high of $5.17 a bushel – its strongest since March 2.     May soybeans added 0.1 percent to $9.70-3/4 a bushel after dropping to $9.67 a bushel, the lowest since Feb. 2. May corn fell 0.1 percent to $3.78-1/2 a bushel, having dropped to a six-week low on Monday.
Kansas winter wheat was rated 41 percent good to excellent, down from 46 percent in the previous week, the USDA said. Oklahoma winter wheat was rated 40 percent good to excellent, down from 42 percent the week before.     The corn market is being weighed down by slowing demand for record-sized US supplies.
The USDA said on Monday morning that weekly export inspections of corn were 735,311 tonnes, down from 1.18 million tonnes a week ago and below the low-end of trade forecasts ranging from 900,000 to 1.1 million tonnes.     In a move seen as a blow to US corn exporters, China has booked over 600,000 tonnes from Ukraine so far this year and more deals are expected.
China, the world’s second largest corn consumer, began importing corn in a big way in 2009/10 and took a bulk of the shipments from the United States. But it is turning to suppliers in the Black Sea region and South America. (AGENCIES)


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