Bloomberg News

Wheat Falls on Speculation Algeria Is Still Snubbing U.S. Crops

December 29, 2011

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat, set for the biggest annual drop since 2008, fell in Chicago on speculation Algeria again shunned U.S. supplies in favor of alternative sources.

Algeria bought 250,000 to 300,000 metric tons of optional- origin wheat, Paris-based farm adviser Agritel said on its website today, without saying from where the information came. The country is the second-biggest African importer of the grain after Egypt.

“None of that is likely to come from the U.S.,” said Dave Norris, an independent grain broker in Harrogate, England. “The bottom line is no matter what the world price is, the Black Sea will undercut it to get the business into these North African homes.”

Wheat for March delivery slid 0.4 percent to $6.4875 a bushel by 11:50 a.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices climbed for eight straight sessions before today, the longest rally since October 2007. Still, the grain is down 18 percent this year.

Argentina may supply a “good part” of the Algerian purchase, and European origins might be included, Agritel said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly export sales report is scheduled for release tomorrow after a delay caused by the Christmas holiday.

Milling wheat for March delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris gained 0.9 percent to 195 euros ($251) a ton.

Corn, Soybeans

Corn for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $6.4325 a bushel in Chicago, on course for a ninth increase in a row. The grain is up 2.3 percent this year. Hot, dry weather in parts of Brazil and Argentina is set to curb crop prospects, according to forecaster Telvent DTN Inc. Argentina is the second-biggest global corn exporter after the U.S.

The Brazilian states of Mato Grosso Do Sul, Parana and Rio Grande Do Sul will be dry today and tomorrow with temperatures reaching about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, Telvent DTN meteorologist Joel Burgio said in a report yesterday. Temperatures in Argentina that topped 102 degrees will be higher than normal, he said.

Soybeans for March delivery declined 0.4 percent to $12.035 a bushel. The oilseed has dropped 14 percent this year.

--With assistance from Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris. Editors: Dan Weeks, Sharon Lindores.

To contact the reporters on this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net; Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.


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