Wheat prices skyrocket after Ukraine's attack on Russia
An attack by Ukrainian troops on a Russian armoured column has sent wheat futures for September soaring 3.5% to $5.56 ¼ a bushel in Chicago at one point, before easing to end at $5.51 ¼ a bushel, a gain of 2.6%.
With both Russia and Ukraine big exporters of competitively priced wheat, futures in the grain have been particularly sensitive to changes in regional tensions.
Futures in corn, in which Ukraine is a big exporter, rose 1.6% at one point to $3.79 ¾ a bushel for December delivery before easing back to finish at $3.77 a bushel, a gain of 0.9%.
The price gains were "pretty much all down to Ukraine-Russian tensions", Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale, the Chicago broker, told Agrimoney.com, with the particular gains in wheat futures a classic signal of such a move.
The boost from the political concerns contrasted with the "bearish factor" of growing estimates for wheat production from both countries, he said, although Black Earth Farming separately on Friday highlighted concerns of low protein in the Russian crop.
Richard Warburton, chief executive of the Russian farm operator, said that protein levels in the national crop have been about 1 percentage point lower "than prior years", a dynamic reflected in the group's own harvest results too.
At Iowa-based US Commodities, Don Roose said that "increased tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border are getting attention".
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