By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO (Reuters) -U.S. wheat futures rallied 3.3% to their highest in nearly two months on Wednesday as criticism by Russia of a wartime export deal for Ukrainian grain revived concerns about the movement of supplies out of the Black Sea shipment hub.
Corn and soybean futures eased on a round of profit-taking, giving up early gains that stemmed from spillover strength from the wheat rally. Corn touched its highest since June 27 before turning lower.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia and the developing world had been “cheated” by a UN-brokered Ukrainian grain export deal, vowing to look to revise its terms to limit the countries that can receive shipments.
“Putin has no interest in seeing Ukraine benefit from large grain sales at a time when sales from his own country are sluggish following a big crop,” Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at brokerage StoneX, said in a note to clients. “The revenues help support Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, which goes contrary to Russia’s overall objective.”
Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat futures for December delivery settled up 27-1/4 cents at $8.44-1/4 a bushel.
Wheat futures had been curbed in recent weeks by an increasing flow of Ukrainian shipments through the Black Sea corridor, along with falling prices for Ukrainian and Russian supplies.
However, Moscow’s comments underscored the precarious situation in the Black Sea region as Russia’s six-month-old invasion of Ukraine continues and Western sanctions against Moscow remain in place.
“The market is pricing worst-case scenarios like the end of the grain corridor,” a European trader said.
CBOT December corn was down 5 cents at $6.71 a bushel and CBOT November soybeans were down 15-1/4 cents at $13.83-1/2 a bushel, the sixth time in the last seven sessions they have closed in negative territory.
China’s soybean imports in August were down 24.5% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Deepa Babington and Grant McCool)