Mixed Bag Of Weather Woes Boost Wheat Prices

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Wheat prices rose Wednesday amid rainstorms that have delayed the U.S. harvest and planting in Canada. Meanwhile Russia's wheat crop is baking in a hot, dry spell.

Corn and soybeans also rose, but metals and energy prices were mixed as the dollar rose on lingering concerns about how much Europe's debt crisis will weigh on the global economy.

Wheat for September delivery rose 9.25 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $4.7675 a bushel, the highest level since early May.

Farms in several states have been hit with heavy rains for the past week. Oklahoma has reported between 4 inches and 11 inches of rain in a five-day period, which has slowed or stopped the harvest, Northstar Commodity analyst Jason Ward said.

Canada has forecast an 18 percent decline in the number of acres that will be planted in wheat due to heavy rains. At the same time a dry spell has impacted about two-thirds of the crop in Russia, a big producer, Ward said.

The wheat rally also boosted corn and soybeans. In July contracts, corn prices rose 2.5 cents to $3.5625 a bushel and soybeans rose 8.25 cents to $9.5775 a bushel.

In other commodities, copper dipped, halting a six-day gain as the dollar grew stronger against other currencies. Commodities are priced in dollars so a stronger dollar makes them less attractive to foreign investors.

Copper for September delivery fell 1.05 cent to $3.0135 a pound.

Platinum for July delivery fell $10.50 to settle at $1,567.50 an ounce, and palladium for September delivery dipped 35 cents to $475.20 an ounce.

Gold for August delivery fell $3.90 to settle at $1,230.50 an ounce and silver for July delivery fell 13.7 cents to $18.441 an ounce.

Energy prices were mixed on the day.

Benchmark crude for July delivery rose 73 cents to settle at $77.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex trading in July contracts, heating oil rose 4.16 cents to settle at $2.1101 a gallon, and gasoline gained 2.37 cents to close at $2.1452 a gallon. Natural gas fell 21.1 cents to settle at $4.978 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press.



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