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Wheat futures rise on worries about Ukraine

March 24, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of wheat rose sharply Monday as traders worried that ongoing tensions in Ukraine will reduce exports from that region.

Wheat for May delivery rose 21.25 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $7.15 a bushel. That’s close to the highest level since May.

Russian President Vladimir Putin formally annexed Crimea last week. Russian forces are raising the pressure on the Ukrainian military on the Black Sea peninsula by seizing their ships and breaking into walled military installations with armored personnel carriers. Ukraine and Russia account for 17 percent of the world’s wheat exports.

“The big trigger today is increased threats from Russia on Ukraine’s border,” said Todd Hultman, a grains analyst at DTN. “That’s adding a lot of nervousness to wheat prices.”

In other trading of agricultural products, corn and soybeans also rose.

Corn for May climbed 11 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $4.90 a bushel. Soybeans for the same month climbed 16.75 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $14.26 a bushel.

Most metals fell, led by a decline in the price of gold.

Gold for April dropped $24.80, or 1.9 percent, to $1,311.20 an ounce. The price of silver dropped 24 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $20.07 an ounce. Copper for May fell 1 cent, or 0.2 percent, to $2.95 a pound.

April platinum dropped $4.80, or 0.3 percent, to $1,431 an ounce. Palladium for June delivery rose $5.05, or 0.6 percent, to $794.35 an ounce.

In energy trading, the price of crude oil edged up 14 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $99.60 a barrel.

April wholesale gasoline fell 1.7 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.89 a gallon. Heating was little changed from Friday at $2.91 a gallon. Natural gas lost 3.7 cents to $4.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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