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Morning markets: Chicago becalmed amid CFTC fears

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Volatility once again eluded Chicago grains, amid a dearth of fresh news and lingering jitters over a regulatory clampdown, favouring instead palm oil.

Not that this was good news for bulls in Kuala Lumpur.

The benchmark November contract closed the morning session on Bursa Malaysia's Derivatives Exchange down 2.7% at 2,240 ringgit a tonne, continuing a bear run which has now cost palm oil more than 11% in a week.

Hopes for the Asian festival season boosting demand have died down amid reports that the Middle East has covered its requirements. Two cargo surveyors on Thursday reported falls in palm shipments from Malaysia this month.

Still, with latest official data showing declining stocks, and hangovers from biological tree stress and weather weighing on production, the palm oil market maintains some underlying supports, traders said.

Data ahead

The fundamentals do not look so kind for wheat, with world supplies high, European yields high, and the US spring crop in good condition as harvest continues.

Statistics Canada has the chance for some surprises with crops data due later on Friday, although traders are already factoring in a weaker Canadian crop this year.

Investors are expecting a 23m-tonne figure for all wheat, 4.5m tonnes for durum wheat. Looking more broadly, the figure for oats is expected at 2.7m tonnes, for canola at 10.4m tonnes and for barley at 8.9m tonnes.

Chicago wheat for September stood 0.25 cents lower at $4.68 ¾ a bushel at 07:00 GMT, with the December contract down the same at $4.96 ½ a bushel.

Low volume

Soybeans managed some headway, up 7.75 cents at $10.07 a bushel for September and 6.25 cents to $9.63 ¼ a bushel for November.

The crop, and corn, gained some support from reports of milder weather coming into the Midwest, reminding investors of the potential for frosts ahead.

Corn added 1 cent to $3.19 ½ a bushel for November and 0.5 cents to $3.24 ½ a bushel for December.

Traders have appeared reluctant to stick their neck out too far until there is some more clarity on the implications of the CFTC clampdown for Deutsche Bank and hedge fund Gresham Investment Management.

The regulator has retracted these investors' exemptions from Federal position limits, concerning investors over the potential for a selldown of positions, besides fears that other institutions may be clobbered by the CFTC too.


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