South Africa Wheat Rises for Second Day as Rand Depreciates

South African wheat futures gained for a second day after the rand declined against the dollar, making imports more expensive and raising demand for locally produced cereal.

Wheat for delivery in July, the most active contract, rose 0.3 percent to 3,471 rand ($384) per metric ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange. White corn in the same month fell 0.2 percent to 2,146 rand a ton while the yellow variety dropped 0.2 percent to 2,135 rand.

The rand weakened for a third day, slipping 0.4 percent to as much as 9.0714 per dollar during today’s trading session. It has lost 6.4 percent this year, the worst performer among 25 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 yesterday.

“Because we import the grain, this affects the import parity,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader, said by pone from Kroonstad in the Free State province. “International prices and the rand played a role.”

South Africa produced 1.87 million tons in 2012, 7 percent less than a year earlier, the Crop Estimates Committee said yesterday.

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

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