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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Wheat set for longest rally since 2012 after attack in Ukraine

Reardan farmer Tom Zwainz unloads his combine during harvest in August 2019.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Hirtzer Bloomberg

Wheat futures are on track for their eighth straight session of gains – the longest streak since 2012 – after Ukraine said Russia attacked Danube River port facilities.

The first such strike in several weeks damaged a grain elevator and killed a truck driver, renewing concerns that escalated warfare could disrupt grain shipments out of the Black Sea.

Wheat for March delivery climbed as much as 1.6%, reversing from earlier losses.

Thursday was the first day this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t announce an export sale of soft red winter wheat to China. Deals earlier in the week totaled 1.01 million tons, the most in a decade.

The attack in Ukraine, coupled with China’s buying, were propping up crop markets that had been under pressure for much of this year from ample world supplies.

China is the world’s biggest wheat producer but has stepped up imports after rains damaged the harvest.

China’s string of purchases from the U.S. was likely to prompt the USDA in a monthly supply and demand report due Friday to raise its export forecast for SRW wheat.

“Demand has been poor for U.S. wheat as Russia production looks strong, but exports are starting to increase,” said Jack Scoville, grains analyst at Price Futures Group Inc. in Chicago.