Wheat falls for a second day on supply concerns


Wheat prices logged their biggest decline in a month Monday, sliding for a second day because of the higher crop estimates released last week by the U.S. government.

December wheat fell 28.75 cents, or 3.2 percent, to settle at $8.5775 a bushel. That's the biggest drop since Oct. 12. The grain has gained about 30 percent since the start of the summer because of a jump in corn and soybean prices. Wheat can be used as a substitute for corn for some uses, such as cattle feed.

The Department of Agriculture predicted in its monthly report Friday that 704 million bushels of wheat will be available in 2013, compared with 654 million bushels in its October estimate.

"It's a running-for-the-exit type day," said Richard Feltes, vice president of research at R.J. O'Brien, a broker in Chicago. "The last possibility of a bullish surprise on supply was from last Friday's crop report. That's not only been taken off the table, but that report was bearish."

December corn fell 20.75 cents a bushel to $7.18 a bushel, while January soybeans dropped 46.25 cents to $14.05 a bushel.

Oil fell modestly because of concerns about the looming "fiscal cliff" in the U.S. A combination of tax hikes and government spending cuts will take effect Jan. 1 unless President Barack Obama and Congress can reach a compromise to avert it. Economists believe the impact of the fiscal cliff could hurt growth in the world's largest economy.

Benchmark crude fell 50 cents to finish at $85.57 per barrel.

Heating oil fell 0.63 cent to $2.9992 per gallon; gasoline futures dropped 2.29 cents to end at $2.6763 per gallon and natural gas rose 6.7 cents to end at $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In other commodities trading, metals were mixed.

December copper rose 2.25 cents to end the day at $3.468 a pound. Gold for December delivery was unchanged at $1,730.90 an ounce. December silver fell 7.7 cents to $32.522 an ounce.

Palladium for delivery in December fell $3 to $608.05 an ounce. Platinum climbed $7.1 to $1,566.50 an ounce.

Trading volume was below average because of the Veterans' Day holiday in the U.S.