South African Wheat Rises to More-Than Three-Week High

South African wheat futures increased to the highest level in more than three weeks after the rand depreciated against the dollar, making imports more expensive and raising demand for domestically produced grain.

Wheat for delivery in March, the most active contract, rose 0.3 percent to 3,560 rand a metric ton, the highest since Dec. 20, by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg. The grain climbed for the fourth day, the longest streak of gains since Nov. 5, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The rand declined 1 percent to 8.7828 per dollar by 2:21 p.m. in Johannesburg, the lowest intraday level since Dec. 6, after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) said it will idle shafts and cut output, fueling concern South Africa’s current-account deficit will widen as the trade balance worsens.

“The rand has weakened during this session; it’s why we see prices of wheat up a bit,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader, said by phone from Kroonstad in the Free State province.

South Africa is a net importer of wheat and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia. The country imported 12,000 metric tons from Uruguay in the week to Jan. 11, the South African Grain Information Service said on its website today.

White corn for delivery in March, fell 1 percent to 2,162 rand a ton, while the yellow variety dropped 0.7 percent to 2,088 rand a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at tmokhema@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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