GRAINS-Wheat ends higher as Cargill set to stop handling Russian grain at export terminal


By Cassandra Garrison

March 29 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures rallied and closed higher on Wednesday, after global grain trader Cargill Inc said it would take a further step back from the Russian market by no longer handling the top wheat supplier's grain at its export terminal from July.

Cargill's shipping unit will continue to carry grain from the country's ports, the company said.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Wv1settled up 5 cents at $7.04-3/4 per bushel, after hitting $7.24 in earlier trade, a price not seen since Feb. 27.

Corn Cv1settled up 3-1/4 cents at $6.50-1/2 per bushel, as traders jockeyed their positions ahead of Friday's annual U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) planting intentions report.

And soybeans Sv1settled up 9-1/2 cents at $14.77-1/4 per bushel, bolstered by continued concerns over production in drought-hit Argentina.

Wheat, which had been trading in negative territory in early overnight trade, rose on concerns about global grain supplies disrupted by the 13-month-old war in the Black Sea breadbasket region, lifting benchmark wheat futures prices from earlier losses.

In addition, grain trader Viterra, part-owned by Switzerland-based mining and trading giant Glencore, is planning to stop grain trading in Russia, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

"I think Russia is making a clear move now to take on more control of their assets and their physical commodities in expectation of worsening trade conditions in the next six to 12 months," said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

"With this news, I see that it's just increasing the likelihood that it's going to be very difficult for us (the U.S.) to pick up more demand," he added.

Russian exports could also be hampered if Moscow was to recommend a temporary halt in wheat and sunflower exports, as reported last week by Russian business newspaper Vedomosti.

Sources later told Reuters that Russia had no plans to halt wheat exports but wanted exporters to ensure prices paid to farmers were high enough to cover average production costs.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison in Mexico City and Naveen Thukral; Editing by Uttaresh Venkateshwaran, Sharon Singleton, Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci)

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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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