Dry weather, Ukraine send wheat prices higher
Grain prices moved higher Monday as dry weather scorched the southwestern Plains states in the U.S. and as the conflict in Ukraine escalated.
Wheat for July delivery rose 13 cents to $7.29 a bushel, the highest price in a year.
Wheat has been rising sharply since the beginning of 2014. It has increased 31 percent since hitting a recent low of $5.51 a bushel on Jan. 29.
Corn prices also rose. The July contract rose 9 cents to $5.08 a bushel.
Todd Hultman, a grain analyst with DTN in Omaha, Nebraska, said the drought in the southwestern Plains states was pushing wheat prices higher.
“The drought situation is extremely serious,” Hultman said.
A flare-up of tensions in Odessa over the weekend also threatened to jeopardize Ukraine’s sizable corn and wheat exports from the Black Sea.
Ukraine is the world’s No. 3 exporter of corn behind the U.S. and Brazil, Hultman said, making up about 16 percent of world exports of the grain.
Metals futures mostly rose.
Gold for June delivery edged up $6.40 to $1,309.30 an ounce. July silver increased 2.5 cents to $19.57 an ounce, July platinum rose $7.70 to $1,448.40 an ounce and June palladium rose $4.10 to $816.50 an ounce.
Copper was the outlier. The July contract lost 2 cents to $3.05 a pound.
Energy futures closed mostly lower.
U.S. crude oil for June delivery fell 28 cents to $99.48 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell four cents to $2.91 a gallon and heating oil fell 2 cents to $2.91 a gallon.
June natural gas rose a penny to $4.688 per 1,000 cubic feet.