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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Wheat Prices Rise on Fears Weather May Freeze Crops

CHICAGO — Wheat prices rose on Friday, paring this week’s loss, on speculation that cold weather will harm crops in Ukraine and Russia because of inadequate snow cover. The countries are among the top five exporters of the grain.

Freezing temperatures next week may damage plants in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus after recent above-normal temperatures melted protective snow cover, MDA Federal EarthSat Weather in Rockville, Maryland, said in a report. Parts of the region have received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall the past 45 days, increasing crop stress, the forecaster said. “Ten to 20 percent of the crops may be at risk of winter kill,” said Dan Cekander, the director of grain research for Newedge USA in Chicago. “It’s really a pretty small risk.”

Wheat futures for March delivery rose $0.5 to $5.375 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier declining 1.3 percent. The most-active contract dropped 3.7 percent this week, the third straight loss, as world inventories are forecast to rise to an eight-year high before next year’s Northern Hemisphere harvests.

The U.S. and Canada are the world’s biggest wheat exporters, followed by Russia, Australia and Ukraine, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wheat is the fourth-biggest U.S. crop, valued at $16.6 billion in 2008, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.