South African Wheat Rises for First Day in Three as Rand Drops

South African wheat futures rose the for the first time in three days as the rand declined against the dollar, making imports of the grain more expensive.

Wheat for delivery in July, the most active contract, rose 0.5 percent to 3,459 rand per metric ton by the close on the the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg. White corn in the same month increased 0.3 percent to 2,150 rand a ton while the yellow variety gained 0.4 percent to 2,140 rand a ton.

The rand depreciated for a second day, slipping 0.7 percent to 9.065 by 12 p.m., when trading on the futures exchange closes. It has lost 6.4 percent this year, the worst performer among 25 major emerging-market currencies against the dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. South Africa, a net importer of wheat, hasn’t brought in the cereal for the past two weeks, the grain information services said today.

“The main driver for our higher price today is the weakening rand,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a Johannesburg-based trader for Trademar Futures (Pty) Ltd., said by phone.

The country’s Crop Estimates Committee will release wheat-output data for the 2012 season at 3:30 p.m. in Johannesburg. South Africa probably produced 1.87 million tons, according to the median estimate by four analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The nation produced 2.01 million tons in 2011.

South Africa is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia. South Africa is the region’s biggest importer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

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