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Morning markets: crops come back to earth

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US crops at last succumbed to gravity on Thursday, losing the spell of end-of-quarter effects which protected them against bearish US data in the last session.

Farm commodities' hangover from data showing bigger-than-expected US wheat production, and higher-than-forecast soybeans stock too, may have taken a while to hit.

On Wednesday, soaring oil, a weaker dollar and investor position-covering at the end of the third quarter helped soybeans, and in particular wheat, recover losses to close impressively.

Chicago's December wheat lot rebound from a contract low to end 2% higher, with an additional technical factor of positioning ahead of proposed regulatory changes also having an effect.

Record yields

But there was no such luck on Thursday. The dollar showed better form, and oil traded a touch lower.

And investors began the third quarter in no mood to ignore fundamentals.

Wheat was the worst hit, as befits a grain shown to have enjoyed record spring crop and durum yields in the US this year.

Chicago wheat for December stood 7.5 cents lower at $4.49 ¾ a bushel at 06:30 GMT, with Kansas's December contract down 9.25 cents at $4.68 ¾ a bushel.

Beans dip

Soybeans also weakened, with the US Department of Agriculture reporting that America's stocks of the crop had not, after all, touched a 32-year low a month ago.

November beans dipped 2.5 cents to $9.24 ½ a bushel.

The USDA statistics were actually mildly positive for corn, showing inventories less than expected. However, prices were pulled lower by spillover from the other crops, and the prospect of a huge harvest.

Corn for December delivery stood 3 cents lower at $3.41 a bushel.

Oil boost

Still, a touch of Wednesday's mood remained alive in Kuala Lumpur, as traders had a chance to factor in the rise in oil, which followed an unexpected drop in US petrol inventories.

However, volumes were thin, with China, the biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil, out of the picture for its eight-day National Holiday.

Benchmark December palm oil closed the morning session on the Bursa Malaysia derivatives exchange up 16 ringgit at 2,121 ringgit a tonne.


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