S. Africa Wheat Gains to 18-Year High as Rain Too Late to Help

  • No overnight rains in province, 30% chance will come Oct. 25
  • Harvesting has already begun in parts of region, rain late

Wheat in South Africa rose to the highest level in at least 18 years as the largest grain farming lobby said rain expected for Western Cape province on Oct. 25 is too late to help a harvest that already begun in the region.

The grain for delivery in December gained 0.6 percent to 4,310 rand a metric ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange, the highest level since at least Nov. 5, 1997. There’s a 30 percent chance of rain in Cape Town and Malmesbury in Western Cape on Oct. 25, after no showers overnight, data on the South African Weather Service website show.

"Harvesting has already started in some parts of the Western Cape, so it’s too late for the rain to change anything at this stage,” Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at the Grain SA lobby, said by phone on Friday.

While South Africa is the sub-Saharan region’s biggest producer of wheat after Ethiopia, it’s still a net importer, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

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