KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — The Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT) said on Nov. 16 that it has set a new annual trading volume record in the hard red winter wheat futures contract as of Nov. 12.

At the conclusion of trade on Nov. 12, 4,798,488 contracts or 23.99 billion bushels had traded thus far in 2010. The previous record was set in 2006, at 4,763,168 contracts or 23.82 billion bushels. Six weeks remain in the year to add to the record.

Total exchange trading volume through Nov. 15 totaled 4,941,069 contracts, 346,121 contracts shy of the previous annual volume record of 5,287,190 contracts set in 2006. With six weeks remaining in the year, trading volume is on track to break the previous record, KCBT said.

Volume and open interest in KCBT contracts have increased as demand for milling-quality wheat has taken center stage, traders said. In fact a new open interest record was set in the wheat futures contract on Nov. 11 at 250,506 contracts, capping a spate of recent open interest records. Trading has been active in both the intermarket and intramarket spreads. There has also been interest from traders looking at commodities in general as an inflation hedge, traders said.

Each KCBT wheat futures contract represents 5,000 bushels of wheat.