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South African Wheat Drops to Lowest in More Than 5 Months

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- South African wheat futures declined to the lowest in more than five months before a U.S. Department of Agriculture report that may show that quarterly stockpiles climbed in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter.

Wheat for delivery in March, the most active contract, decreased 0.6 percent to 3,450 rand ($402) a metric ton, the lowest since July 18, by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The USDA will release the quarterly stockpiles report on Jan. 11 in Washington. Reserves in the U.S. probably totaled 1.68 billion bushels as of Dec. 1, up from 1.66 billion a year earlier, according to the average estimate of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

“The report makes the market very volatile and a number of traders are concerned because of the report,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader, said by phone from Kroonstad in the north of South Africa’s Free State province.

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

White corn for March delivery fell 1.8 percent to 2,126 rand a ton, while the yellow variety dropped 0.8 percent to 2,044 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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