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Morning markets: ag's oilmakers spurt ahead

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Swine flu, what swine flu? Farm commodities' oil makers were in the ascendancy on Thursday, helped by talk of supply squeezes and firm external markets, and leaving pandemic fears far behind.

A rise in crude oil prices didn't hurt. Brent was up $0.47 at $512.25 a barrel at 06:30 GMT on hopes for the global economy, with New York crude gaining $0.53 to $51.50.

Japan's shares, meanwhile, followed European and US shares sharply higher, ending 3.9% to the good.

Palm oil, similarly, took heart from Wednesday's 4% surge in soybeans to stage its own rally, gaining 60 ringgit to 2,540 ringgit a tonne and touching 2,556 ringgit earlier for Bursa Malaysia's July contract, with traders bullish over forthcoming export data from Societe Generale de Surveillance following an upbeat report from rival cargo surveyor Intertek.

"Swine flu is out of the picture for the moment," as trader said.

"The market is expecting another drawdown of at least 100,000 tonnes of palm oil in endstocks because exports are slightly up."

Jumping beans

Soybeans themselves remained in demand, helped by yet another downgrade to estimates of this year's Argentine crop. This time it was Buenos Aires Grain Exchange's turn to do the cutting, slicing 2.2m tonnes from its forecast, and it taking to 34m tonnes. That compares with a bumper 46.2m tonne harvest last year.

May beans were 5.25 cents higher at $10.37 a bushel in Chicago, with the July contract 3 cents higher at $10.28 a bushel.

Other grains took breathers, as traders mulled just how slow the current planting season will prove to be. May corn was 3 cents lower at $3.90 a bushel, with its July comrade dropping the same distance to $3.98 ¼.

May wheat lost 2.75 cents to $5.18 a bushel, with the July contract off 0.5 cents at $5.31 ½ a bushel.

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