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Grain futures - weekly outlook: August 18 - 22

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Shutterstock photo - - U.S. wheat futures rallied more than 2% on Friday, amid fears that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia will escalate and disrupt grain shipments from the region.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, U.S. wheat for September delivery surged 2.61%, or 14.0 cents, on Friday to end the week at $5.5120 a bushel, the most since August 11.

A day earlier, wheat prices jumped 1.75%, or 9.2 cents, to settle at $5.3720. On the week, the September wheat contract rose 0.36%, or 2.0 cents.

Wheat prices rallied after Ukraine said its forces had attacked and partly destroyed a Russian armored convoy that entered Ukrainian territory.

Separately, NATO's secretary-general said the organization observed a Russian "incursion" into Ukraine on Thursday night, which was denied by Moscow.

Ukraine and Russia are key producers and exporters of wheat and other grains.

Meanwhile, U.S. corn for December delivery advanced 0.94%, or 3.4 cents, to settle at $3.7700 by close of trade on Friday. Prices hit $3.7960 a bushel earlier, the most since July 18.

On the week, the December corn contract soared 6.49%, or 24.5 cents, the first weekly gain in eight weeks and the biggest in five months.

The new-crop corn contract has advanced for four consecutive sessions this week for the first time since February on short-covering and technical buying.

Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, U.S. soybeans for November delivery shed 0.38%, or 4.0 cents, on Friday to settle the week at $10.5200 a bushel by close of trade.

On the week, the November soybean contract declined 2.61%, or 28.2 cents.

Prices of the oilseed hit a 45-month low of $10.3860 on Thursday, as traders piled on to bearish bets after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said earlier in the week that this year's crop would be by far the largest in history.

The USDA estimated this fall's U.S. harvest would reach an all-time high of 3.82 billion bushels on August 12. The agency also said soybean yields would hit a record 45.4 bushels an acre.

In the week ahead, market players will focus on the release of key USDA data, including crop progress and weekly export sales figures.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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