Wheat hits 1-month high on crop damage fears

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CANBERRA — U.S. wheat futures rose 0.5% on Wednesday as concerns about potential crop losses in a key U.S. growing region pushed prices to a more than one-month high.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 0.5% at $6.73-1/2 a bushel by 0226 GMT, near the session high of $6.76 a bushel – the highest since Jan. 20. Wheat closed up 0.1% on Tuesday.

* The most-active soybean futures were up 0.6% at $14.16-1/2 a bushel, having firmed 1.8% on Tuesday, when prices hit a Jan. 15 high of $14.28-1/4 a bushel.

* The most-active corn futures inched up 0.1% to $5.53 a bushel, having gained 0.3% in the previous session.

* Consultancy AgRural said on Monday that the soy harvest pace in Brazil was the slowest in a decade.

* Condition ratings for winter wheat declined during February in Kansas, the top U.S. winter wheat producer, but monthly ratings were mixed in other Plains states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar slipped to a three-year low against the British pound and fell against commodities currencies on Wednesday as investors increased bets that a global economic recovery will boost riskier assets.

* Oil prices fell in early trade on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week as a deep freeze in the southern states curbed demand from refineries that were forced to shut.

* Bond markets steadied, the U.S. dollar fell and stocks edged ahead on Wednesday after central banks from Washington to Wellington vowed to keep monetary policy loose for a long time, giving investors enough confidence to seek out riskier assets.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Devika Syamnath)