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Evening markets: grains leave spotlight to softs

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Chicago crops left the spotlight to soft commodities on Monday, with the prospect of a key report on US acreages dampening interest in new positions.

External pointers were somewhat negative, with shares and oil lower and the dollar stronger for a third successive day – bad news for US exports, such as crops.

Indeed, while weekly data on US wheat inspections met traders' expectations at 14.4m bushels, corn was light at 35m bushels and soybeans, at 9.6m bushels, below the hopes of many investors.

Squaring off

Still, what really mattered was the prospect of updated official US crop figures due on Wednesday.

These are expected to show rises in wheat and, in particular, corn production, weak performances by these grains last week has allowed for much of this.

On Monday, investors squared off positions, helping Chicago corn for September recover 1.2% to $3.26 a bushel, with wheat adding 1.3% to $4.96 a bushel at 17:30 GMT.

Earlier, the last remnants of bearish sentiment (for now) pushed wheat to within two cents of its 2009 low of $4.83 ½ a bushel.

Palm aid

Wheat remained quiet in Europe too, ending unchanged in Paris at E123.00 a tonne for November delivery as well as in London, where it closed at £98.25 a tonne.

Rapeseed was marginally more interesting at time, thanks to strength in palm oil, a rival in the vegetable oil market, which was helped higher by low Malaysian stocks data.

Nonetheless, the November contract closed unchanged at E272.25 a tonne, with February adding E1 to E278.00 a tonne.

Cocoa hots up

More excitement lay in softs, where sugar soared – again – on concerns of buoyant demand and waning production.

Traders credited spillover support for a 2.7% rise to £1,822 a tonne in London cocoa for September too, with New York adding 1.8% to $2,888 a tonne.

However, the spillover did not extend far enough to help coffee, which ended down 2.0% at $1,462 a tonne for London robusta beans, with New York arabica beans down 1.3% at 136.05 cents a pound.


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