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Morning markets: crops dust themselves off

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Palm oil took its turn in the freezer, while other farm commodities thawed a touch, as external markets showed signs of stabilising following Monday's steep declines.

While Japan's Nikkei share index followed Western equities on a downward slide, closing 2.4% lower on Tuesday, markets which had already done their bit steadied in early deals. On the oil markets, Brent crude inched $0.14 higher at 50 bucks a barrel on the nose at 06:00 GMT.

That wasn't enough to stop palm oil, which was protected by trading hours from Monday's storm on Wall Street, feeling a chill. Bursa Malaysia's benchmark July contract slipped nearly 3% in early deals.

But the contract recovered much of that ground to stand ringgit, or 1.7%, lower at 2,405 ringgit a tonne.

"Tightness is still there. No doubt about it," a trader told Reuters. "Even though we are seeing production improving... stocks levels are relatively still low."

Stability factor

Soybeans, meanwhile, which tumbled 3% on Monday, regained a handful of lost ground, as attention turned back to strong Chinese demand. Chicago's May contract was 4.5 cents higher at $10.23 a bushel.

"Last night, the soy market was largely influenced by oil and stock markets, and if those markets show stability, beans should be bought from here," a Tokyo trader said.

The rebound helped Chicago wheat regain 5.5 cents to stand at $5.09 ½ a bushel.

Corn's recovery was more modest, up 1.75 cents to $3.71 ½ a bushel, despite a US report showing planting delays amid wet weather.

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