Wheat Hits 3-Year Low as Harvest Starts in U.S.


From Bloomberg Businessweek

Editors: Steve Stroth, Michael Arndt.

Wheat futures fell to a three-year low on June 7 as favorable weather allowed farmers to begin harvesting in the southern parts of the U.S. Great Plains, boosting supply prospects.

Parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas received as much as four times the normal precipitation in the past month, National Weather Service data show. Dry weather in the past week allowed farmers to start collecting winter grain. Wheat has dropped 20 percent this year, partly because of increased world stockpiles.

“The weather’s good, and the crop is good,” said Frank Cholly, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago. “We’re going to be range-bound, but right now the upside is limited.”

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 3.5 cents, 0.8 percent, to $4.3225 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $4.31 a bushel, the lowest price for a most- active contract since April 3, 2007.

The price has been declining since reaching a record $13.495 on Feb. 27, 2008. Global stockpiles in the marketing year that started on June 1 may total 198.1 million metric tons, the most since 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report last month. That would be up 2.4 percent from a year earlier, government data show.

From June 1, 2009, to May 27, the U.S. shipped 21.5 million tons of wheat, down 16 percent from a year earlier, the USDA said in a report last week. Commitments from overseas importers totaled 22.8 million tons, down 15 percent, the government said.

Wheat is the fourth-biggest U.S. crop, valued at $10.6 billion in 2009, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

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

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


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