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S. African Wheat Drops to 7-Month Low on Rand Gain, U.S. Price

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- South African wheat futures declined to the lowest level in more than seven months as the rand strengthened against the dollar and as the U.S. price for the grain dropped yesterday.

Wheat for delivery in March, the most active contract, fell 1.6 percent to 3,411 rand ($384) a metric ton, the lowest since July 13, by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The rand appreciated for a second day, increasing 0.3 percent to 8.8721 a dollar by 12 p.m., when the market closed. Wheat for March delivery retreated 2.3 percent to $7.2125 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday, the lowest since June 21.

“Our rand has become a bit a strong,” Thys Grobbelaar an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based Senwes Ltd., said by phone. “In the U.S., the price went down and we follow them.”

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

White corn for July delivery declined 2.7 percent to 2,049 rand a ton, while the yellow variety fell 1.9 percent to 2,040 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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