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Evening markets: wheat and cocoa steal soy's glory

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What could take the spotlight away from soybeans crossing back over $12 as bushel?

Minneapolis wheat rocketing 3% to its highest levels for eight months, for one. Cocoa soaring 4% for another, as fund managers piled into farm commodities as a way of lessening their exposure to inflation.

"Funds are buying commodities, getting ready for inflation once the recession ends," Paul Haugens, vice president for Newedge USA, told Reuters the news agency.

'Lost' soybeans

And naturally, soybeans were high on the hit list, especially after the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange once again trimmed forecasts for Argentina's drought-hit crop.

The exchange pegged the crop at 32m tonnes, 200,000 tonnes below last week's estimate, saying that "some 1m hectares were lost" to the drought.

Chicago's July soybean contract added topped $12 a bushels at one point before retreating by 17:30 GMT to $11.88 � a bushel, up 3 cents on the day. Some new crop contracts showed bigger gains.

Wheat spurts

Minneapolis wheat, however, managed to hold on to most of its new ground, standing 21.25 cents, or 2.8%, higher at $7.76 � a bushel for July delivery, four cents below the contract's intraday high. Forward contracts showed similar gains.

Besides fund buying, traders said that the rise reflected concerns over the slow planting of America's spring wheat crop.

"Wheat is taking support from but big rally in Minneapolis wheat as fears grow that 1m acres or more of spring wheat acreage will probably be switched to other crops, such as oilseed," Vic Lespinasse at, said.

Whatever, the rise dragged up wheat elsewhere. Chicago wheat for July gained 14.25 cents, or 2.3%, to $6.26 � a bushel, with Paris wheat for August gaining E2.50 to E151.50 a tonne.

Even Chicago corn got in on the act, despite Tuesday's strong planting data, adding 2.25 cents to $4.29 � a bushel for July.

Juice and cocoa

Funds appear to have spread their favours, too. Orange juice came within an ace of setting a new eight-month high before retreating to stand 2.0% higher at 94.30 cents a pound, stoked by lingering fears for the impact on Florida's citrus crops of the forthcoming US hurricane season.

Cocoa did even better, soaring 4.1% to a six week high of $2,512 a tonne for New York's July contract.

"The cocoa market was largely unaffected by yesterday's stockmarket rally, and I think we may be playing a little catch-up here," Sterling Smith, vice-president at FuturesOne in Chicago, said.

Sugar, however, was out of favour, after its rally earlier this month. New York's July raw sugar contract closed down 0.19 cents at 15.75 cents a pound.

"There's a bit of producer selling coming through," Rabobank's Nick Hungate said.

"[Sugar] needed a retracement. It's done so much in such a short period of time. It just needs to catch its breath a little bit before it moves higher again."


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