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South African Wheat Falls as U.S. Price Drops on Crop Outlook

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- South African wheat futures declined for the first time in five days after the price of the grain in the U.S. dropped as snowfall in that country boosted harvesting prospects.

Wheat for delivery in May, the most active contract, fell 1.7 percent to 3,424 rand ($376) a metric ton, the most in a week, by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg. The grain lost 2.5 percent to $7.04 a bushel in Chicago yesterday, erasing four days of gains.

“There was good snowfall in the biggest wheat-planting area of the U.S.,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a trader at Trademar Futures (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “Prospects for the wheat harvest in the U.S. have improved.”

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaco Visser in Johannesburg at avisser3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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