By STEVE ROTHWELLNEW YORK (AP) a¿¿ Wheat prices fell Wednesday after the government raised its forecast for year-end supplies, citing a drop in demand from China. In a monthly report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its forecast for this year's ending stocks of wheat globally to 186.68 million metric tons from 183.81 million tons in March. The price of wheat has climbed 11 percent this year amid concern that global supplies would fall amid the ongoing tension in Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin formally annexed the Ukrainian Crimea region last month. Ukraine and Russia account for 17 percent of the world's wheat exports. Supply concerns have also been exacerbated by dry weather in the Southwest of the U.S., which may hurt this year's crop. Higher prices for wheat this year may have also encouraged traders to look for an excuse to sell and book some of their gains. "Wheat prices did get to attractive levels," said Todd Hultman, a grain market analyst at DTN. "These are definitely much better prices than anyone expected two to three months ago." Wheat for May delivery fell 12 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $6.69 a bushel. In other trading of agricultural products, corn edged lower and soybeans rose. Corn for delivery in the same month fell 4.8 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $5.02 a bushel. Soybeans for May rose 12.75 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $14.95 a bushel. Most metals fell. Gold, silver, copper and platinum declined. Palladium rose. Gold for June delivery fell $3.20, or 0.2 percent, to $1,305.90 an ounce. The price of silver for May dropped 29 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $19.77 an ounce. Copper for May fell 1.4 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $3.04 a pound. July platinum dropped $2.80, or 0.2 percent, to $1,438.90 an ounce. Palladium for June delivery rose $6.70, or 0.9 percent, to $782.55 an ounce.
In energy trading, crude oil climbed $1.04, or 1 percent, to $103.60 a barrel. Renewed unrest in eastern Ukraine and a lowered domestic production forecast from the U.S. Energy Department drove the price of oil higher.Wholesale gasoline for May rose 2.8 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $3 a gallon. Natural gas from the same month rose 5.2 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $4.59 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil added 2 cents to $2.95 a gallon.