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Morning markets: wheat grows on weak crop data

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Wheat got off to the brightest start on Thursday, supported by Informa Economics' downbeat estimate for US wheat, and by a backdrop of strong external markets.

Tokyo's Nikkei index rocketed 4.6% to a six-month closing high, playing catch up with Western markets after Golden Week holidays in Japan.

And oil added to Wednesday's gains following data showing lower US petrol stocks than analysts had predicted, and a slowdown in the loss of private sector jobs. New York crude for June was $0.44 higher at $56.78 at 06:15 GMT.

That helped all Chicago contracts make early ground, with May soybeans up a further 6 cents to $11.41 a bushel despite a weekly report from Buenos Aires Grains Exchange for once not cutting its forecast for Argentina's crop.

Forward contracts also gained, with November up 9.5 cents at $9.87 ½ a bushel.

Informa support

Even corn made it into positive ground, up 0.75 cents to $4.01 ½ a bushel for May, and a healthy 2.75 cents up at $4.42 a bushel for the March 2010 contract. Corn should, as a major feedstock for ethanol, in theory be helped by higher crude oil.

But it was wheat which put in the strongest showing, on percentage terms at least, following the Informa Economics report estimating US winter wheat production at 1.54bn bushels this season compared with an official US estimate of 1.62bn.

Chicago wheat for May took on 6.25 cents to $5.54 a bushel, with the March 2010 contract up 8.25 cents at $632 a bushel.

Palm oil was the odd commodity out, slipping a tonne on profit-taking, albeit bouncing from a day low of 2,650 ringgit to stand at 2,665 ringgit, 15 ringgit down on the day.

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