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Evening markets: funds help wheat stay sweet

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Wheat maintained the upper hand over its Chicago partners on Wednesday as some bearish crops data vied for investors' attention against a bullish mood in external markets.

Well received US jobs data sweetened the mood on Wall Street, helping shares up more than 1% at 18:30 GMT.

Gold, meanwhile, hit a record $1,093.65 per troy ounce, boosted by Tuesday's news that India's central bank had bought 200 tonnes of bullion from the International Monetary Fund, fuelling thoughts of buying by other monetary authorities.

Oil ticked higher too, establishing a beachhead above $80 a barrel.

Spruce juice

Some food commodities got the full benefit of investor optimism, including juice, which added 3.5% in New York to 111.50 cents a pound.

Some investors are banking on a Florida frost to further cut hopes for orange production in America's biggest citrus state.

Wheat got a more modest uplift, standing 4 cents higher at $5.19 ¾ a bushel in Chicago for December delivery, supported by fund buying estimates at 2,000 lots.

Wet, and Dry

Some fundamental reasons for support may be creeping in

The Canadian Wheat Board said that cool and wet conditions have "created limitations" to Canada's spring wheat harvest, which has 10% yet to go.

However, the main reason for wheat's support appears to be buying by investors seeking a hedge against rising inflation prospects.

Agritel, the Paris consultancy, said: "Funds' buying and the expected global economic recovery are supportive.

"The economic recovery is still weak in Europe but seems much stronger in Asia and elsewhere with a bullish Baltic Dry index, used for measuring the cost of sea transport."

Weak data

While corn and soybeans also felt the benefit of that early in the session, data from Informa Economics indicating only tiny downgrades to harvest estimates – despite delayed harvests and an October frost – soured the mood.

Corn stood 4.75 cents lower at $3.85 ¼ a bushel for December delivery, 13 cents below its intraday high.

Soybeans for November shed 11 cents to $995 ¾ a bushel, with the better-traded January contract down 10.75 cents at $9.99 ¾ a bushel.

Funds were sellers of an estimated 5,000 contracts of both crops.


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