Wheat prices dropped to their lowest in a month in Chicago after US supplies lost out for the second time in four days to rival offers from the Black Sea in a tender by the world's top importer.
Egypt's state grain authority, Gasc, on Tuesday purchased 60,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia at $313 a tonne, and 60,000 tonnes from Ukraine at $313.88 per tonne after inviting offers from the range of leading importers, including Australia, Canada, France and the US.
The result dashed hopes that US grain might win business - ideas stoked by a bargain offer by merchant Alexgrain to Gasc's last tender, which closed on Saturday, of 55,000 tonnes of soft red winter wheat at $310.99 per tonne from east coast ports.
That represented a discount of more than $40 per tonne to offers from US ports in the Gulf of Mexico.
Furthermore, a 3% drop in Chicago soft red wheat futures on Monday appeared to have put "the US right back in the game in terms of soft wheat", Benson Quinn Commodities analyst Brian Henry said.
'No hurry to sell'
However, Alexgrain failed to repeat its offer leaving the – lone – offer of US soft red winter wheat, from Cargill, at $344.53 per tonne excluding shipping, well above the Black Sea offers, which benefit from smaller freight costs to Egypt too.
"It looks like that east coast offer has been bought back by the supplier," a London grains analyst said, adding that US sellers "are not likely to be in a hurry to sell" wheat given the prospect of farmers turning to the grain as an alternative to high-priced corn.
"We do not see the US export offer being too competitive in the near-term."
French wheat, offered at $329.58 per tonne by Cargill, was also well out of contention.
The victory by Russian wheat, and a plethora of other offers from the country, also eased some nerves over the impact of a poor harvest in sapping its exportable supplies.
Of the 840,000 tonnes of wheat offered to Gasc, 540,000 tonnes was sourced from Russia.
However, at Chicago broker Rice Dairy, Jerry Gidel questioned the role of a near-term delivery date in encouraging Russian offers, given widespread concerns that Moscow may later in the season impose curbs on wheat exports.
"This tender was for delivery in September. Russia might not have been so keen with its offers if the delivery date was further ahead," Mr Gidel told Agrimoney.com.
Nonetheless, Chicago wheat for September, which had stood in positive territory earlier in the day, closed at a one-month low of $8.39 ¾ a bushel, a drop of 2.1% on the day.
Kansas hard red winter wheat for September finished 1.8% lower at $8.52 a bushel.
Paris wheat for November delivery dropped 0.9% to close at E255.00 per tonne.
But London wheat added 0.3% to £195.00 per a tonne, spurred by the reopening of the UK's Ensus wheat ethanol plant, Europe's biggest biorefinery, with capacity for more than 1m tonnes of the grain a year.