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Morning markets: crops mark time as rain advances

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US crops again painted a mixed picture, although this time with soybeans in the ascendancy, as markets continued to seek direction following something of a hiatus in an autumn rally.

External markets provided a cloudy prospect, with oil slipping a touch, weakened by data showing a rise in US crude stocks.

The dollar edged higher, meanwhile, as traders tool profits in currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars, which hit 15-month highs against the greenback. Nonetheless, a euro was still worth more than $1.49 on Wednesday.

A rising dollar makes US exports, such as farm commodities, less competitive.

More rain

But the prospect of further delays to America's already tardy corn and soybean harvests underpinned prices, even though crops remain in fine condition.

The harvest, already the slowest on record, faces more of the rain which has hindered fieldwork and the drying of mature crops.

Winter wheat sowings are also beginning to lag, thanks both directly to rain and to the knock on effects of fields being tied up late with other crops.

Soybeans lead

Soybeans also enjoyed bullish talk that some Brazilian sowings had been disrupted by rainfall too.

Chicago's November soybean contract added 7.5 cents to $9.90 a bushel.

Corn, which has performed particularly well during the autumn rally, edged 0.5 cents higher to $3.85 a bushel, leaving it 27% higher than it was some six weeks ago.

December wheat, meanwhile, eased 1 cent to $5.16 ½ a bushel. It has gained 17% during the upswing.

Slower exports

In Kuala Lumpur, palm oil remained on the defensive following Tuesday's weak Malaysian export data, although a stronger dollar limited losses.

While Intertek and Societe Generale de Surveillance, the cargo surveyors, came up with different directions on palm exports in the first 20 days of the month, one reporting a small rise and the other a small fall, both figures represented a sharp slowdown.

Benchmark January palm oil closed the morning session on the Bursa Malaysia Derivative Exchange settled down 12 ringgit at 2,168 ringgit a tonne.


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