Wheat prices climb as heat takes toll on US crops

Wheat prices rose Wednesday as the hot, dry summer continued to take its toll on crops in the US and Russia.

Wheat for delivery in September gained 42.5 cents to settle at $7.5125 per bushel, the highest closing price since last September. Corn also rose.

Global supplies of wheat remain plentiful, but traders are concerned that the heat wave may cause crops to deteriorate in the Midwest and parts of Russia and Kazakhstan.

The sizzling summer also has pushed up prices for corn. Crops in the Midwest could be damaged by the heat and lack of rainfall because they are pollinating.

The driest areas are south of Chicago, including Missouri, Kansas and parts of the eastern Midwest and Delta regions, Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group, wrote in an email.

Corn for December delivery rose 9 cents to finish at $6.33 per bushel. November soybeans edged down 1.25 cents to $14.12 per bushel.

In other trading, energy and metals prices were mixed as traders weighed positive news about U.S. manufacturing and home sales against concerns about the effect that Europe's debt crisis could have on demand for commodities.

The Commerce Department said factories received more orders in May for long-lasting manufactured goods such as heavy machinery, computers and communications equipment. That helped ease recent concerns about slower US factory production.

Separately, the National Association of Realtors said Americans signed more contracts to buy previously occupied homes in May. It follows other recent data that shows steady improvement in the housing market this year.

European leaders will gather on Thursday and Friday to discuss the crisis, which has hurt economies within the European Union and has filtered out to the U.S., China and elsewhere. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday there would be no quick solution to the structural issues plaguing the continent.
Gold for August delivery rose $3.50 to end at $1,578.40 an ounce and July silver fell 9.6 cents to $26.942 per ounce.

July copper rose 3.65 cents to finish at $3.3495 per pound. July platinum fell $17.10 to $1,409.70 an ounce and September palladium fell $13.95 to $579.75 per ounce.

Benchmark crude rose 85 cents to end at $80.21 per barrel in New York. Heating oil rose 1.72 cent to finish at $2.5937 per gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 2.47 cents to $2.6204 per gallon and natural gas futures 0.7 cent to $2.7740 per 1,000 cubic feet.