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Morning markets: grains gain, while soy feels China pressure

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Last season's La Nina bought Australian grower too much of a good thing, with the rain that boosted yields then sticking around to compromise quality.

Will the weather pattern, in its new, weaker guise, do the same?

"Heavy rain forecasts for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland in late October poses a risk to harvest progress and grain quality," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said, indicating the, damp, spirit of 2010 had returned.

To some extent. For "hot temperatures and minimal rain forecasts for southern New South Wales may present some yield pressures", not what we saw last year.

'Fungi presence'

Whatever, it was one area of hope for bulls in the grain,

As is the grain's continued reluctance to capitulate, despite the US Department of Agriculture last week lifting its estimate for world stocks at the close of 2011-12 to a 10-year high of 202.4m tonnes.

"Wheat is treading water here. It can't rally, but no collapse either," Mike Mawdsley at Market 1 said.

US Department of Agriculture attaches produced a helpful snippet overnight by reporting that the wheat crop in Poland, the European Union's third-ranked grains producer, had not just fallen in quantity this year.

"Grain quality is reported as poorer due to fungi presence after excessive rainfall prior/during harvest," they said.

Discount maintained

Most importantly, wheat's central prop,

corn

, remained firm, boosted by continued ideas that users are making healthy profits at current levels.

So why should farmers sell out at levels $1.50 a bushel and more below summer highs?

Chicago corn for December edged 0.2% higher to $6.45 ½ a bushel as of 07:30 GMT (08:30 UK time) , with a refusal by producers to sell balancing out pressure from the ongoing harvest.

Chicago wheat, at an atypical discount to corn, moved in line, adding 0.2% to $6.26 ½ a bushel for December delivery.

'Highly susceptible'

Firm external markets helped grains look upward too, with strong results from Intel, and hopes for a solution to the eurozone crisis, instilling something of a "risk on" approach.

Tokyo

shares

closed up 0.4%, Seoul stocks up 0.9% and Sydney shares up 0.6%, while the

dollar

dropped 0.3% against a basket of currencies, making dollar-denominated assets more affordable as exports.

However, Tuesday's soft Chinese economic growth data remained a cloud over futures in

soybeans

, of which the country is the top importer.

As Kim Rugel at Benson Quinn Commodities said, "the soybean market is highly susceptible to disappointing Chinese economic data".

Inflation falls too

At Phillip Futures, Ker Chung Yang also noted data showing an unusual fall in Chinese food prices too in the week to Sunday, "in response to ebbing demand pressures in the wake of October National Day holidays in early October".

The drop, which broke an upward trend dating back to mid-August, and included a 1.7% jump the previous week "has proven that the measures for controlling food inflation have turned effective, he added.

"Hence, we expect Beijing to retain its current stance of controlling food prices."

With soybean futures suffering pressure from the US harvest, besides from profit-taking after last week's rally, Chicago's November lot eased 0.6% to $12.43 a bushel.

The November contract on China's Dalian futures exchange was weak too, down 1.4% at 4,085 yuan a tonne.

Margin changes

Cotton

, however, of which China is also the top importer, performed better, easing a most 5 yuan to 19,995 yuan a tonne on the Zhengzhou.

And that was reflected in New York, where the December lot eased 0.2% to 100.00 cents a pound, continuing indeed a rangebound performance.

The lower volatility was reflected in a cut by the Ice exchange to margins on

cotton

futures, meaning investors have to put up less of their own money upfront to invest in the fibre.

However, margins against

raw sugar

positions were lifted.

By Agrimoney.com

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