wheat and soybean futures soar

US wheat futures jumped in overnight trading on concerns that Russia will halt Ukraine’s grain exports, according to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reportedly said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine that Russia is likely to discontinue an agreement that allows safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural products to importing countries.

He said the government is working with Turkey and the United Nations, which originally brokered the agreement that was signed in late July, to ensure the agreement remains in place. Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent weeks has accused Ukraine of sending grain only to wealthy European countries rather than African nations where it is most needed to alleviate hunger.

Ukraine responded by showing exactly where the shipments have gone since the deal went into effect. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Putin ally, agreed with the Russian president despite evidence from Ukraine. In the US, meanwhile, 85% of the spring wheat crop was harvested earlier in the week, just below the previous five-year average of 89%, the US Department of Agriculture said in a report yesterday.

Winter wheat producers had planted 10% of the crop by Sunday, up from the normal 7% for this time of year, the agency said. Soybean futures jumped overnight as the condition of the US crop fell in the seven days ending Sunday. About 56% of the soybeans were in good or excellent condition at the start of the week, down from 57% the week before. This is also down from the 57% who got top rankings at the same point last year.