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South African Sunflower Seeds Drops on Favorable Rain

South African sunflower seeds fell 1.5 percent as favorable rain in the Free State, which accounts for two-fifths of the nation’s crops, boosted expectations for the country’s harvest of the oilseed.

Sunflower for the December delivery, the most active contract on the South African Futures Exchange, declined 90 rand to 6,070 rand ($737) a metric ton by the midday close in Johannesburg.

“The market is reluctant to buy and that is why we see a drop in prices,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp-based Senwes (Pty) Ltd., said by phone today.

South Africa is the continent’s biggest producer of sunflower seeds, according to the U.S. department of Agriculture. The country is forecast by the government to reap about 527,000 metric tons of the seed this year.

Demand for the seeds is also being pushed down by speculation that Malaysia, the world’s second-largest producer of palmoil, will this year match its record crop. Palm oil has many of the same uses as oil made from sunflower seeds.

South African wheat for December delivery dropped 0.8 percent to 3,419 rand a ton. White corn for delivery in the same month declined 0.6 percent to 2,275 rand a a ton, while the yellow variety decreased 1.4 percent to 2,237 rand a ton.

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