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Evening markets: wheat and palm oil shine

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Wheat sparkled on Wednesday, helped by wet US planting weather and strong US export data, although it looked unlikely to outshine palm oil, which closed at an eight month high.

Bursa Malaysia's benchmark July palm oil contract put in a late spurt to close more than 105 ringgit, or 4.2%, higher at 2,580 ringgit a tonne amid concerns that low stocks could be about to fall further.

"If that happens, supplies would be clearly not sufficient for domestic use and exports," a Kuala Lumpur trader told Reuters, the news agency, adding that "volume is very, very high, so this is solid buying".

The July contract traded nearly 20,000 contracts compared with a recent average of roughly 11,000.

A modest rebound in oil markets, where Brent crude threatened ready to return above $50.00 a barrel, also improved sentiment.

Corn 'concern'

Not that the oil price helped soybeans much. Chicago's May contract stood just 0.15 cents higher at $10.46 ¼ a bushel at 17:15 GMT.

That wasn't a patch on the 4.75 cent rise, to $3.78 ¼ a bushel, in corn prices, as weather turned for the worse in areas waiting to be planted.

"There's some concern there," Joe Bedore, at broker FCStone, said.

North Dakota heads south

Even so, it was wheat that held the limelight, adding 12 cents, or 2.3%, to $528 ¾ a bushel for Chicago's May contract, amid continued reports that wet weather in the US Plains was slowing planting of spring wheat.

North Dakota's Agricultural Commissioner warned that 1.2m acres of land earmarked for spring wheat might not be planted. The US Department of Agriculture had placed a question mark over 1m acres.

Meanwhile, weekly export data beat forecasts, totalling 232,000 tonnes of wheat for this season's crop and 199,000 tonnes for next season's.

Across the Atlantic, Paris joined the party, adding E2.25 to E145.745 for the May wheat contract, with London held back by a stronger pound adding only £0.10 to £108.80.

Sweet cocoa

Among soft commodities, cocoa also put in a good showing, up 2.6% at $2,453 a tonne in New York and 2.0% higher at £1,775 a tonne in London, although technical factors rather than fundamentals were credited for the rise.

"It's short covering," one trader said. Market dynamics would have suggested a weaker price, with analysts raising forecasts for output from the Ivory Coast, the biggest producer.

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