Wheat Export Values Firm on Increased Futures, Export Value

Wheat futures prices have reached unexpected heights recently. Higher futures prices usually pressure export basis values when farmers sell wheat into the rally because that increases exportable U.S. wheat supplies. However, U.S. Wheat Associates points out the market is undergoing a completely different phenomenon. Extremely tight elevation capacity out of the Gulf and Pacific Northwest due to massive exports to China is sustaining high wheat export basis values, despite increased farmer selling. Soft Red Winter futures are up 11 percent over the last month to recently $5.94 a bushel, the highest level since December 2014. U.S. Wheat Associates Market Analyst Claire Hutchins says grain traders generally agree that the run-up in futures prices is attributed to technical buying. That’s where managed money or commodity funds buy significant amounts of U.S. wheat futures contracts with the expectation that the contracts will gain value over time. Hutchins expects export basis levels to stay at these higher levels through January, assuming that Chinese buying remains strong.