South African Wheat Declines on Rand Strength, Lower U.S. Prices

South African wheat futures dropped for a third day, the longest losing streak in more than a month, as the rand gained against the dollar and prices of the grain fell slightly in the U.S. yesterday.

Wheat for delivery in March, the most active contract, decreased 0.6 percent to 3,582 rand ($403) a metric ton, the longest falling streak since Dec. 13, by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The rand gained 0.4 percent to 8.8783 per dollar by 1:50 p.m. in Johannesburg after the nation’s statistics agency said the unemployment rate fell to 24.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

Wheat for delivery in March fell 0.3 percent to $7.63 a bushel by yesterday’s close on the Chicago Board of Trade. It was little changed at $7.6350 a bushel at 11:48 p.m. in London.

“The rand recovered and the prices for wheat in America fell a bit last night and we follow them,” Theo Venter, an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based Senwes Ltd., said by phone.

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.

Yellow corn for July delivery, declined 1 percent to 1,972 rand a ton, the lowest since June 19, while the white variety increased 0.3 percent to 2,061 rand a ton.

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