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Evening markets: clear spell snaps crops' resolve

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The prospect of a break in the clouds sent crop prices lower on Thursday, offering US farmers a change to finish some of their much-delayed soybean and corn harvests.

The weekend's weather is likely to be more clement in areas such as the US Delta, where harvests have suffered from heavy rain.

"Weather forecasts are drier for next week, which should allow for more fieldwork to be completed," Brian Hoops at Midwest Marketing, the broker, said.

While there is still the prospect of a return of storms towards the end of next week, the turn in fortunes sent US crop prices sharply lower.

Chicago corn for December was 3.5% lower at $3.69 ¾ a bushel in late trade, with soybeans for November down 2.1% at $9.73 ¾ a bushel.

Egyptian tender

Wheat was lower too, with Chicago's December lot down 2.3% lower at $5.01 a bushel, if managing to recover from sub-$5 prices earlier.

That was mostly down to spillover from corn and soybeans. But there were some other negatives too, such as Egypt turning to France to fill all of a 180,000-tonne order. Plenty of US wheat was offered, but rejected.

Not that this victory – marking the first time since July that Russia had been shut out of an Egyptian wheat tender - saved European prices from a decline. Paris milling wheat for November ended down E126.50 a tonne.

Exports sag

Some other potentially bullish news – a 1.2m-tonne cut by Strategie Grains to its European Union soft wheat crop estimate – had already been factored in, traders said, following French revisions earlier this week.

Besides, EU exports still aren't that great. Official data showed EU wheat exports running at 5.5m tonnes so far this year, compared with 7.2m tonnes a year ago.

For grains overall, exports, as measured by licences granted, were down to 6.6m tonnes from 10.5m tonnes.

As for London wheat, it had a startling bounce in sterling to deal with, and ended down £2.25 at £101.00 a tonne.

Cocoa and sugar sweeten

Cocoa did better at dodging the strong pound, ending up £32 at £2,127 a tonne for December delivery in expectation of some bullish US grind due later on Thursday.

Nonetheless, its New York equivalent did even better without a currency headwind, ending up 3.8% at $3,267 a tonne.

Sugar did well too, jumping 5.0% to 23.85 cents a pound in New York on talk that buyers were having trouble getting hold of supplies.

London white sugar for December added $15.10 to $596.50 a tonne.


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