Corn Climbs to 5 Month High as Wheat Jumps on Ukraine Tension

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Corn advanced to the highest level since September and wheat rallied the most since August as geopolitical tension escalated in Ukraine, a leading exporter of both grains.

Corn for May delivery gained as much as 2 percent to $4.7275 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price since Sept. 12, before trading at $4.7125 as of 10:37 a.m. in Singapore. Wheat futures increased as much as 4.5 percent to $6.295, the biggest intraday gain since Aug. 26 and the highest level since Dec. 13.

Ukraine, set to be the third biggest corn shipper this year, mobilized its army reserves as Russia seized control of the Black Sea region of Crimea, intensifying one of the most serious standoffs with the U.S. since the end of theCold War. Ukraine will export 9.5 million metric tons of wheat this season from 7.1 million tons in 2012-2013, making it the sixth-biggest shipper, according to the International Grains Council.

“Mounting unrest between Ukraine and Russia is supporting global grain prices,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a report today. “The Black Sea region’s importance to global grain production and exports has surged in recent years.”

The country is forecast to ship 18.3 million tons of corn in the 2013-2014 season through June from 13.6 million tons a year earlier, according to the IGC.

Wheat in Chicago last traded at $6.235 a bushel. Soybeans for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $14.1725 a bushel after posting a 10 percent increase last month, the most since August.