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Wheat prices rise to highest level since June

The Associated Press

Wheat prices rose to their highest level in four months Friday as traders reacted to reports of a disappointing harvest outlook from Argentina.

Wheat for December delivery rose 19.75 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $7.0575 a bushel Friday, the highest price since June.

The Argentinian Agricultural Ministry issued a forecast of 8.8 million metric tons of wheat production for the 2013-2014 harvest, according to news reports. That is sharply below USDA's September forecast of 12 million metric tons for Argentinian wheat.

Argentina is the second-largest producer of wheat in the Southern Hemisphere, second to Australia.

In other agricultural commodities, December corn fell 1.5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $4.415 a bushel. November soybeans fell two cents, 0.2 percent, $12.9125 a bushel.

In energy trading, oil prices rose on news that China's economy grew at a faster-than-expected rate in the third quarter.

The Chinese government said the world's second-largest economy grew at an annual rate of 7.8 percent in the third quarter of the year, improving on the two-decade low figure of 7.5 percent in the second quarter.

November crude oil rose 14 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $100.81 a barrel.

Other energy commodities were higher as well. November natural gas edged higher by a fraction of a cent to $3.764 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline futures rose 2.5 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.67 a gallon and heating oil prices rose 4.5 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $3.04 a gallon.

In metals, December gold fell $8.40, or 0.6 percent, to $1,314.60 an ounce. December silver fell 3.4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $21.913 an ounce.

High grade copper for December rose a fraction of a cent to $3.299 a pound. January palladium rose $2.85, or 0.4 percent, to $740.65 an ounce. Platinum for December delivery rose $2.90, or 0.2 percent, to $1,437.80 an ounce.