Nation: The Great Wheat Deal

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Maybe a Loss. In the face of acute crop failures throughout the Communist bloc, the U.S. also was counting on a substantial rise in wheat prices and a consequent boost of perhaps $100 million in U.S. farm income. But Canada last week scotched that hope. The Canadians sold Japan 30 million bushels of wheat in a secret deal, promising delivery over the next eight months at a fixed price. Thus, even if a wheat shortage drives world prices higher—as is likely—the Canadians must deliver at the original lower fixed price. And since Japan is one of the biggest and steadiest buyers of U.S. wheat, American dealers may be virtually compelled to trim their prices to Canada's. One official figures that the U.S. may lose some $60 million as a result of fixed-price deals in the near future.

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