* Wheat rallies on worries Russia could curb exports
* Oil down as storm weakens, misses US oil platforms
* Metals slip on doubts about Fed easing
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, Aug 29 Wheat prices jumped their most
in six weeks on Wednesday as investors worried that Russia will
curb exports due to drought, and oil fell after storm Isaac
caused little disruption to energy installations in the U.S.
Copper and gold prices also weakened as
better-than-expected U.S. economic data for the second quarter
raised questions on whether the Federal Reserve would consider a
new round of bond purchases to support growth.
Traders and investors expect Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to
use his speech at Friday's annual symposium of central bankers
and finance ministers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to test the
market's mood for a new stimulus.
Metal prices "certainly have the capacity to snap back if
Bernanke's speech gives them reason to perk up, which at this
point, looks to be a pretty good bet to us," said Edward Meir,
an analyst for base metals at INTL FCStone.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index,
a global benchmark, closed flat, as the drop in oil and metals
prices offset the rally in wheat and other crops.
U.S. wheat futures jumped more than 3 percent on
expectations that No. 3 exporter Russia will ship less of the
grain this year due to crops ravaged by drought -- bolstering
the potential for top wheat exporter, the United States.
Wheat for December delivery on the Chicago Board of
Trade settled up 30-1/4 cents at $9.05-3/4 a bushel after
setting a session high above $9.08. It was the largest one-day
gain in CBOT wheat since July 16, and marked an abrupt rally
after a 5 percent drop in the last five sessions.
Cuts to Russia's export program could boost demand for U.S.
wheat exports, which buyers have found too expensive in recent
months. Top buyer Egypt has passed over U.S. supplies in its
last three purchases.
Prices for U.S. wheat were about $50 per ton more expensive
than Russian supplies. Still, some analysts, such as Dewey
Strickler, president at AgWatch Market Advisors, are optimistic
that the United States could win some business in Saudi Arabia's
tender on Wednesday to buy 550,000 tonnes of hard wheat from
Corn and soybean prices also rose, with corn
surging back above $8 a bushel. Market watchers believe rainfall
from Tropical Storm Isaac will do little to boost crop yields
but may delay the harvest of the drought-stricken crops.
Oil prices slid on expectations that damage will be limited
to oil output from Isaac, which became a hurricane on Tuesday
before weakening after landfall. Energy markets were also
depressed by data showing a sharp rise in U.S. crude oil stocks.
U.S. crude oil settled down 84 cents, or nearly 1
percent, at $95.49 a barrel.
London's Brent oil also ended in the negative but
was better cushioned than U.S. crude by the ongoing turmoil in
the Middle East and the possibility of a strike by Norwegian oil
service sector workers. Brent settled down 4 cents at $112.54 a
Prices at 3:20 p.m. EDT (1920 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 95.46 -0.87 -0.9% -3.4%
Natural gas 2.634 0.020 0.8% -11.9%
US gold 1663.00 -6.70 -0.4% 6.1%
Gold 1656.70 -9.82 -0.6% 5.9%
US Copper 344.25 -2.00 -0.6% 0.2%
Dollar 81.545 0.175 0.2% 1.7%
CRB 307.120 0.210 0.1% 0.6%
US corn 813.00 16.50 2.1% 25.8%
US soybeans 1742.50 28.00 1.6% 45.4%
US wheat 913.25 26.75 3.0% 39.9%
US Coffee 166.65 -1.30 -0.8% -27.0%
US Cocoa 2574.00 6.00 0.2% 22.0%
US Sugar 19.76 -0.37 -1.8% -14.9%
US silver 30.837 -0.038 -0.1% 10.5%
US platinum 1519.30 -0.10 0.0% 8.1%
US palladium 634.85 -4.85 -0.8% -3.2%