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Morning markets: crops mark time ahead of US data

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Farm commodities traded little changed amid jitters ahead of a key Washington report, with hopes that the bear run was running out of steam helping a recovery from early losses.

The US Department of Agriculture will later on Wednesday unveil its estimates for US crop inventories as of September 1, key data in particular for wheat, as they will give an indication of how well this summer's harvest matched forecasts.

Analysts are expecting a figure of 2.13bn bushels, up 14.7% on a year ago, and the biggest since 2001.


Found its equilibrium'

However, recent weakness in wheat has been curtailed despite huge global supplies, in part on expectation that prices may have suffered enough, having dropped by about one-third from June highs.

"The cereals market seems to have found its equilibrium with low prices discouraging selling even if carry-over stocks are heavy," Agritel said.

Growing inflation expectations have also helped crops' cause.

December wheat stood unchanged at $4.47 ½ a bushel at 06:15 GMT, after falling to $4.45 ¾ a bushel earlier.

Lowest since 1977

December corn, meanwhile, was 2.5 cents lower at $3.38 ½ a bushel. It has potentially more to lose after outperforming wheat in recent days, in part on a growing chance that China will return to importing the grain.

Soybeans for November were unchanged at $9.17 a bushel, remaining with 2% of a six-month low.

While Wednesday's report is expected to confirm the lowest US bean stocks for 32 years, the prospect of huge South American harvests early next year has kept a lid on prices.

Its vegetable oil rival, palm oil, was a touch weaker in Kuala Lumpur, with the prospect of China's eight-day National Holiday, which starts on Thursday, casting something of a shadow.

China is the biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil.

The prospect of the holiday was blamed for a 7.8% fall to 1.23m tonnes in Malaysian palm exports in September, compared with August, as reported by cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services.

Benchmark December palm oil closed the morning session on the Bursa Malaysia derivatives exchange down 5 ringgit at 2,100 ringgit a tonne.


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