June 12, 2009

Asia Grain Outlook on Friday: Wheat, corn may fall; soy extend rally


Wheat and corn prices in Asia may turn softer in coming sessions due to declines in bellwether Chicago Board of Trade futures, though the outlook for soy remains firm due to ongoing supply concerns in the U.S., traders said Friday.


CBOT's July wheat contract slipped to US$5.94 a bushel Thursday and continued to decline in Asian trade Friday, with e-CBOT July wheat down 4.00 U.S. cents at US$5.90/bushel at 0639 GMT.


Fundamentals for wheat remain weak due to comfortable world supplies and lackluster demand for U.S. wheat, analysts said.


Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week trimmed projections for new-crop production but raised forecasts for new-crop ending stocks.


However, buying interest in U.S. wheat remains healthy, with Japan Thursday purchasing 124,000 tonnes of wheat, mostly of U.S. origin, while South Korea's Nonghyup bought 55,000 tonnes of feed wheat and 275,000 tonnes of corn in a tender concluded late Thursday.


E-CBOT corn futures trimmed Thursday's gains, dipping 2.00 U.S. cents to US$4.39/bushel, in Asian trading Friday, though traders said corn will continue taking external cue - notably from the crude oil market and the bullish tonnee in soy - amid a general lack of corn-specific newsflow.


Soy continued to push higher Friday, despite lower-than-expected China import data, supported primarily by tight old-crop supplies in the U.S., traders said.


China's General Administration of Customs Thursday said China's soy imports in May rose 1.1% on year to 3.52 million metric tonnes. In the January-May period China's soy imports rose 27% to 17.38 million tonnes.


Earlier market forecasts had pegged China'a May imports at around 4 million tonnes, but observers said high U.S. prices are now leading to contract delays and cancellations.


Rice Out Of Thailand To Africa  


Exporters in Thailand have sold around 300,000 tonnes of parboiled rice to African importers for prompt shipment, a senior Thai official said Thursday.


Overseas interest in Thai rice spiked after India banned rice exports in 2007 due to supply concerns then, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.


Meanwhile, India's premium basmati rice exports are expected to at least double to 1.8 million-2 million metric tonnes in the fiscal year that started in April, driven by demand from Iran and Kuwait, trade officials said this week.


Indian basmati rice, which competes with rival Pakistani varieties, has seen a surge in export volumes in part because of the inclusion of some superior rice varieties such as Pusa and Pusa 1121 in the basmati category in October 2008.


In Asian trading Friday, e-CBOT's July rice contract was unchanged at US$12.96 per hundredweight, having risen by 18 1/2 cents Thursday, supported by weakness in the dollar and strong weekly U.S. export sales. 

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