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Morning markets: investor jitters undermine crops

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Crops started the week on in modest form, with investors' appetite for risk limited, as was made clear by a further round of stock market losses.

Tokyo's Nikkei share index closed down 2.3%, with Hong Kong and Seoul shares also lower, as investors reacted to the week finish on Wall Street on Friday. Financial markets then suffered a broad decline after poor consumer data undermined confidence in the US economic revival.

While the dollar, which has typically been rising during times of stress, was stable, the share declines were nonetheless evidence of a continued reluctance by investors to put their money in all but the safest homes.

That's a grouping which does not include crops. Their case was further weakened by decent weather forecasts for harvesting in the US, reducing the chance of corn and soybeans suffering large losses from standing in the field too long.

Some recovery

In Chicago, corn for December led the decline, down 2.25 cents at $3.63 ¾ a bushel at 07:30 GMT, although above a three-week low of $3.59 ½ a bushel reached earlier.

Wheat for December lost 1.75 cents to $4.92 ½ a bushel, again above early lows.

Soybeans actually recovered from a weak start, which took them to $9.62 a bushel or so for both November and January contracts, back into positive territory. November beans were 3 cents higher at $9.81 a bushel, with the January lot up 3.5 cents to $9.80 a bushel.

Gloomy palm mood

Their vegetable oil partner, palm, has not proved so resilient thus far into Monday, closing the morning session in Kuala Lumpur down 1.5% at 2,175 ringgit per tonne.

That was despite data showing Malaysian palm exports jumped by 15.8% to 1.42m tonnes last month, with statistics from rival cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance after the lunchtime bell showing shipments up 13% at 1.43m tonnes.

Palm's fall reflected a continuing belief that output in Malaysia, the world's second biggest producer, is achieving a bigger seasonal uptick than had seemed likely.

"The export number can be translated as a good number but whatever it is, it is not good enough to reduce" stocks at the end of October, a trader told Reuters, the news agency.

By Agrimoney.com

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