Wheat jumps following better-than-expected government export report

Wheat rose for a sixth straight day on Thursday after a government report showed that export demand for U.S. wheat was stronger than expected last week.

May wheat surged 14.75 cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $7.2475 a bushel.

The price of wheat had fallen to the lowest in eight months at the start of March as winter storms brought moisture to the Plains region, boosting the outlook for this year’s crop after last year’s drought.

“We had a great export sales report, demand is there,” said Jack Scoville, vice-president at The Price Futures Group. “Wheat is cheap, or at least, our wheat is cheap.”

Advances for wheat Thursday were also fuelled by traders who had been betting that the price of the grain would fall further, said Darin Newsom, a commodities analyst at DTN. As prices climbed, those traders were forced to buy the grain to stop their losses getting out of hand.

Corn for May delivery also advanced, gaining 6.25 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $7.1650. Soybeans for the same month declined 11.5 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to 14.355 a bushel.

Trading in metals was mixed, with gold and copper rising, and silver, platinum and palladium declining.

Gold for April delivery rose $2.30, or 0.1 per cent, to $1,590.70 an ounce. Copper for May rose 1.15 cents to $3.5365 per pound.

Silver for May fell 15.10 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $28.8070 per ounce. Palladium for June delivery dropped by 50 cents to $770.75 an ounce. Platinum for April delivery lost $3.30 to $1,589.80 an ounce.

In energy trading, benchmark oil for April delivery was up 51 cents to end at $93.03 a barrel.

Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $3.14 a gallon. Heating oil added 0.5 cent to $2.93 a gallon.

Natural gas rose 13.2 cents to $3.81 per 1,000 cubic feet.