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Morning markets: dollar retreats to crops' favour

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Crops kept their hold on positive territory on Thursday, helped by renewed weakness in the dollar and continuing fears over the frost forecast for the US Midwest this weekend.

The dollar's move against the Australian dollar have, of late, been viewed with particular interest.

Besides being a currency largely associated with the strength of (mainly hard) commodity prices, the Aussie dollar gained the spotlight earlier this week when the country's central bank raised interest rates.

On Thursday, it garnered the limelight once again thanks to better-than-expected Australian jobs data.

That fuelled a general sell-off in the US dollar, which has been viewed as a safe haven from tough economic times, with the greenback losing 0.4% against the euro and the yen.

Greenback retreats make US exports such as crops more competitive.

Wheat makes ground

Chicago wheat responded particularly well, adding 5.25 cents to $4.68 a bushel for December delivery by 06:00 GMT.

Data from the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange pegging Argentine output down 18% in 2009-10 boosted investor sentiment.

The grain has now rebounded 6.5% from its low on Monday.

Corn rally

Corn's rally is beginning to look even more impressive. At $3.62 ½ a bushel, up 2.75 cents on the day, the grain has rebounded nearly 20% from a low a month ago.

Frost threats, to a backward if fine-looking crop, have been a major bull factor, with the latest predictions of a Midwest freeze making it on to short-term forecasts and looking ever more likely to be realised.

Meteorlogix's latest call on eastern and western US corn areas predicts snow in some areas, with "frost and freeze conditions likely developing early Saturday through western and north western areas.

It added: "Cool and unsettled weather is unfavourable for the maturing [corn] crop and early harvest."

That was some help to soybeans too, another autumn-harvested crop, although one less behind than corn.

November soybeans added 7.75 cents to $9.19 ¾ a bushel.

Rising inventories

That was better than their vegetable oil rival, palm oil, did, overhung by expectations of a loosening Malaysian market.

Data next week are expected to show a drop in Malaysian exports and a rise in production, making for a jump in stocks.

A poll for Reuters, the news agency, showed traders were expecting a 7.4% rise to 1.52m tonnes in inventories in September, with exports falling 2.0% and production up 4.4%.

Benchmark December palm oil closed the morning session on the Bursa Malaysia derivatives exchange down 14 ringgit at 2,063 ringgit a tonne on light volumes.

By Agrimoney.com

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