Cold weather, Ukraine tensions push wheat higher

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Cold weather in U.S. growing areas and more worries about disruptions to exports from Ukraine sent the price of wheat sharply higher Monday.

The actively traded contract for wheat delivered in May wheat jumped 19 cents to $6.79 a bushel. Wheat has been rising sharply in recent weeks and is up 12 percent so far this year.

Traders are worried about the effect cold weather in the U.S., particularly around Kansas and Oklahoma, could have on the wheat crop as it is emerging from winter dormancy.

"You can't have these cold temperatures," said Brandon Marshall, commodity trader with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis. "It'll kill the crop."

The threat of wheat exports from Ukraine being interrupted because of the ongoing tensions there also got traders concerned that supplies for the grain could be tighter in the coming months, sending prices for U.S. wheat higher.

Corn and soybean futures also rose.

May corn rose 5 cents to $5.03 a bushel and May soybeans rose 13 cents to $14.76 a bushel.

Metals prices rose slightly.

Gold for June delivery rose $8.50 to $1,327.50 an ounce, May silver rose 6 cents to $20.01 an ounce and May copper edged up half a cent to $3.05 a pound.

July platinum rose $4.80 to $1,467.40 an ounce and June palladium rose $4.70 to $811.50 an ounce.

Energy prices mostly rose.

Crude for May delivery rose 31 cents to close at $104.05 a barrel in New York. It's only the second time since September that oil has closed above $104.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline rose 2.4 cents to close at $3.04 a gallon, natural gas fell 6 cents to close at $4.56 per 1,000 cubic feet and heating oil rose 5 cents to close at $2.98 a gallon.