Wheat Futures Rise 6% as Russia Abandons Grain Deal with Ukraine

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Wheat Futures Rise 6% as Russia Abandons Grain Deal with Ukraine
Credit: © Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- Wheat Futures jumped nearly 6% at the open on Monday in Europe after Russia pulled out of an UN-sponsored deal to allow safe passage for exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea.

Front-month wheat on the CME's electronic trading platform jumped as high as $889 a bushel before paring gains to trade at $878.90 a bushel by 04:50 ET (08:50 GMT).

Russia suspended its participation in the deal, brokered by Turkey during the summer after Ukrainian sea-borne drones attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet at anchorage in the Crimean port of Sevastopol over the weekend.

The deal had allowed Ukraine to ship more than 9 million tons of agricultural products out of its harbors since coming into force three months ago, having a significant effect on the overall balance of the global market. Russia and Ukraine between them accounted for nearly 30% of world grain exports last year, and the war between the two had threatened to choke off supplies to some of the world's poorest countries.

World prices have fallen nearly 30% since speculation of a deal began, and its suspension now poses the risk of a dramatic reversal in prices not just for wheat, but for corn, sunflower seeds, and oil .

Ole Hansen, a strategist with Saxo Bank, pointed out in a morning note to clients that the suspension comes at an awkward time for markets: data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission suggest that money managers have taken increasingly large bets on grain prices falling in recent weeks, with net short positioning in Chicago wheat futures hitting a 28-month high in the week through last Tuesday.

Corn Futures likewise rose by 2.8% to a two-week high of $698.75 a bushel, while US Soybeans Futures ticked up 0.9%.

Ukraine's ability to attack Russia's fleet in its home base is a fresh embarrassment to the Kremlin at a time when it has surrendered the initiative on the battlefield to Kyiv. Ukrainian channels, citing unverified video footage from the drones, claimed to have severely damaged the frigate Admiral Makarov in the raid. The frigate has been the Black Sea Fleet's flagship since the Moskva was sunk by a Ukrainian missile attack in April.

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