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Wheat gains on cold weather concern

January 23, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Wheat rose the most in three months Thursday amid concern that cold weather in the Plains region will damage the crop.

Freezing temperatures are forecast for much of the Midwest for at least the next week. Wheat that is not insulated with a covering of snow can be damaged by the cold.

The price of wheat for March delivery rose 8.75 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $5.70 a bushel, the biggest one-day gain since Oct. 18.

“We have a pretty severe cold snap moving across the U.S. yet again,” said Sterling Smith, a commodities strategist at Citigroup. “We’re going to see damage to wheat in Kansas and Nebraska and into the Dakotas.”

In other agricultural products trading, corn rose and soybeans fell.

March corn rose 2.75 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $4.29 a bushel. Soybeans for the same month fell 2.5 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $12.77 a bushel.

In metals trading, gold rose to its highest price of the year as the dollar fell.

Gold for February delivery climbed $23.70, or 1.9 percent, to $1,262.30 an ounce. Traders often buy gold as an alternative to holding dollars when the value of the U.S. currency drops.

Silver for March rose 17 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $20.01 an ounce. Platinum for April edged up 80 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $1,463.20 an ounce.

March copper dropped 5.15 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $3.29 per pound after a survey showed that Chinese manufacturing looks set to contract in January for the first time in six months.

Palladium for March delivery dropped $2.95, or 0.4 percent, to $745.90 an ounce.

In energy trading, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil rose to its highest of the year. Oil gained 59 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $97.32 a barrel.

Natural gas rose 4.1 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $4.73 per 1,000 cubic feet (28.32 cubic meters).

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