Wheat Futures Climb as Traders Eye More Cold Weather

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Wheat futures led the grain-and-oilseed sector on Wednesday as concerns mounted about a new cold snap in the central U.S.

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The wheat market rallied over the holiday period on concerns about freezing temperatures in Plains states like Kansas, which were cold enough to cause some damage to growing crops.

Analysts on Wednesday pointed to new expectations for bitter cold temperatures, which posed a renewed risk to crops. The Commodity Weather Group said a cold push would hit the central Plains next week, though the risk of damage to crops was marginal. The agency also highlighted a minor threat to crops in Missouri and Illinois.

A number of other factors helped support wheat prices. The U.S. dollar fell against foreign currencies, with the WSJ Dollar Index down 0.3% to 85.75. That made U.S. crops, particularly wheat, more competitive. Analysts also pointed to a shift in chart patterns that signaled to some investors that prices were headed higher.

March-dated wheat futures rose 0.5% to $4.34 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn and soybean futures were under more pressure. Several bouts of rain were expected to fall on the Argentine crop belt starting this weekend, the Commodity Weather Group said. That would help provide valuable moisture to much of the country's corn and soybeans, which have been excessively dry through parts of this growing season. Only the southeastern 15% of the belt was at risk of missing the rain.

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Some signs of soybean demand did little to support oilseed prices. The USDA said that private exporters reported sales of 260,000 metric tons of soybeans to what it called unknown destinations. Only 65,000 tons of that were due for delivery in 2017-18, with the rest booked for the following year. Lagging exports have been an area of concern for futures traders, who have pushed soybean contracts lower in recent sessions.

CBOT January soybean futures fell 0.9% to $9.47 a bushel. March corn contracts were unchanged at $3.49 a bushel.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2018 15:49 ET (20:49 GMT)