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Evening markets: grains gain from dollar slide

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Soybeans lost their place at the top of the Chicago podium on Friday, depressed by a touch of profit-taking, leaving corn and wheat to take up the running.

Traders complained there was no real direction to trade, with light volumes making it relatively easy for relatively small trades to move prices, although a sharply weaker dollar was a big help.

What did become clear was that investors looked as though they were beginning to get their fill of the premium-rated old crop soybeans for now.

Chicago's August contract slipped from an intraday high of 11.40 a bushel, the best for two weeks, to stand 5.25 cents lower at $11.22 ½ a bushel at 17:00 GMT.

New crop beans did better with the November contract up 5.5 cents at $9.76 ½ a bushel, albeit below their day high, as the so-called bull spread - long new crop, short old crop – which had proved popular mid-week unravelled a touch.

Backward greenback

The 1.2% slide in the greenback did a better job of keeping grains ahead, making them appear cheaper to importers.

The dollar's drop was, ironically, credited to improving US economic data – the kind of apparent contradiction which has become a feature of currency markets during the global downturn, during which worsening statistics have sent investors scrabbling for the security of the greenback, with the trade unwinding during better times.

The US economy shrank by 1% in the April-to-June quarter, American government data showed, better - at least - than the 1.5% contraction analysts had predicted.

The prospect of better-than-expected demand helped oil higher too, with New York crude for September up 2.0% at $68.26 a barrel.

Europe lags

That was especially good news for corn, a major feedstock for plants making bioethanol – a petrol alternative. Corn for September added 5.5 cents to $3.37 ¾ a bushel.

September wheat was marginally behind, in percentage terms, adding 7 cents to $5.23 ¼ a bushel.

Still, that was better than European wheats managed, with November adding just £0.25 to £103.00 a tonne and Paris's equivalent up E0.50 at E135.50 a tonne.

'Millers worried'

The problem was not just the currency, with the euro strengthening against the dollar.

Denmark is reported to be dumping wheat onto the market to create storage space for this year's harvest.

"This, perhaps, demonstrates the ongoing effects of last year's EU wheat crop which, it turns out, was easily as big as the estimates suggested," Hugh Schryver, at Glencore, said.

Meanwhile, Strategie Grains, the French analysis group, have said they expect to raise forecasts for France's crop by about 500,000 tonnes in their August report.

And there are quality concerns too, with rain continuing to interrupt harvests, and point to a deteriorating crop, "worrying millers across the EU", Mr Schryver said.

"Milling premiums in the UK have been on the rise," he added, hitting up to £35 a tonne.

Jumping hogs

Among soft commodities, coffee was in demand, up 2.2% at 127.70 a pound for New York's September arabica contract.

The weak dollar was given the credit.

Hogs had a better day too – at last, Chicago's August contract jumped 3.1% from a contract low to 56.30 cents a pound, although short-covering rather than any real investor appetite was behind the advance.

Concerns of a waning pork price, and lower slaughtering next week – causing a back-up in hogs – continue to concern the market.


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