Wheat trades near 19-month low as Argentine crop adds to supply

Wheat traded near a 19-month low in Chicago (CBOT:ZWH14) as an increased outlook for Argentine production of the grain adds to signs of record global supplies.

Argentina yesterday raised its forecast for the 2013-14 wheat harvest to 9 million metric tons from 8.5 million tons. Prices slumped 22% this year in Chicago trading as world production heads for an all-time high of 711.42 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Argentine forecast “further emphasizes the abundant global supplies that the wheat market is experiencing,” said Vanessa Tan, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte in Singapore.

Wheat for delivery in March was little changed at $6.105 a bushel at 7:39 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices touched $6.0725, the lowest for a most-active contract since May 16, 2012, and retreated for a seventh session in a row, the longest losing streak in five weeks. Futures lost 2.9% this week, poised for a third straight decline.

Milling wheat for March delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris slipped 0.1% to 203.50 euros ($277.61) a ton. The contract now trades $54.37 a ton above Chicago grain.

Prices also fell after Egypt, the world’s leading importer of wheat, continued to shun U.S. grain at a tender this week. The Middle East nation’s state-run buyer purchased Romanian and Russian wheat on Dec. 17.

“We’re seeing more examples of wheat purchases bypassing U.S. supplies,” Tan said. “U.S. wheat is continuing to lose its competitiveness in the global market.”

Planting of winter wheat in Germany, the European Union’s second-biggest grower after France, rose 2.5% to 3.14 million hectares (7.8 million acres), the national statistics office said.

Soybeans for delivery in March climbed 0.1% to $13.1975 a bushel in Chicago, heading for a weekly gain of 0.5%. Corn for the same delivery month fell 0.5% to $4.285 a bushel, cutting the weekly advance to 0.7%.

www.bloomberg.com

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