SA wheat hits 6-week low as US crop condition improves

South African wheat futures fell to the lowest level in more than six weeks after the condition of the spring crop in the United States, the biggest exporter, improved.

Wheat for delivery in July fell for a fifth day, declining 1% to R3.478 ($349.20) a metric ton by the midday close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg, the lowest since May 13.


The grain capped its longest slump in six months on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday when it slid 1.2% to $6.77 a bushel. About 70% of spring wheat was in good or excellent condition on June 23, from 68% the previous week and 64% a year ago, according to US Department of Agriculture data.


“Wheat prices went down following US prices due to the crop condition being better than expected,” Kobus Theron, a trader at Suidwes Holdings in Klerksdorp, South Africa, said by phone on Thursday. “This means a higher amount of wheat will be available later this year.”


South Africa, a net importer of wheat, is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia and the region’s biggest importer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to USDA data.


White maize for delivery in December dropped 0.3% to R2.362  a ton, while the yellow variety increased 0.1% to R2.256 a ton. Meal from white maize is a staple food while the yellow kind is mainly used as animal feed in South Africa. – Bloomberg


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