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Wheat soars to 9-year peak on supply concerns, strong demand

CHICAGO, Nov 22 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat futures rallied to their highest in nearly nine years on Monday as ill-timed rains in Australia and rising Russian wheat prices stoked concerns about tightening supplies among the world’s top exporters.

Corn and soybeans followed wheat higher, with additional support from a waning U.S. harvest and strong domestic demand from ethanol makers and soy processors.

“The demand continues to equal or outstrip the supply in the short term,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities.

“The wheat market’s leading the charge. It was hit with weather that is too wet in Australia and a little too dry in the U.S. Plains, shipping issues in southwest Canada and issues around export taxes in Russia,” Roose said.

Chicago Board of Trade March soft red winter wheat was up 23-1/4 cents at $8.57-1/2 a bushel after peaking at $8.59-1/2, the highest for a most-active contract since December 2012. All futures months hit new contract highs.

K.C. hard red winter wheat futures also posted across-the-board contract highs, with the March contract ending 28 cents higher at $8.66-1/2 a bushel.

Wheat prices in Russia rose for a fifth straight week last week on strong demand. Shipments from the world’s largest exporter are down 34% this season due to a smaller crop and rising export taxes.

Heavy rains, meanwhile stalled harvesting in Australia and threatened crop quality, while flooding in western Canada has disrupted exports when global demand for wheat has risen.

Robust domestic demand for corn and soybeans amid strong margins at ethanol plants and soy crush facilities underpinned futures prices.

CBOT December corn gained 6 cents to $5.76-3/4 a bushel, while January soybeans added 11 cents to settle at $12.74-1/4 a bushel.

 

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