Asia Grains-Malaysia buys Ukrainian corn, Australia harvests wheat

Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:05am EST

* Malaysia buys 50,000 T of Ukrainian corn

* Philippines buys 55,000 T of feed wheat

* Australian wheat harvest 40 pct complete

* Indonesia eyes February/March wheat cargoes

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Malaysian feed millers bought around 50,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn for January shipment this week while importers in the Philippines took around 55,000 tonnes of Australian feed wheat.

Indonesian buyers are looking to cover wheat supplies for February and March shipment, although trading slowed this week with the Chicago Board of Trade electronic platform closed on Thursday and Friday for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

"People have been looking for U.S. corn, but we haven't see a lot of business being done as buyers still have some options, such as Ukraine, which is much cheaper," said one trader with a global trading company.

Ukrainian corn was traded between $340 and $350 a tonne, including cost and freight, compared with U.S. corn being offered at $360 to $365 a tonne. Australian feed wheat into the Philippines was sold at $355 a tonne, C&F.

The Australian wheat harvest is in full swing, with farmers having gathered 40 percent of the crop, which is putting pressure on prices.

On the country's east coast, farmers have wrapped up the harvest in most parts of Queensland, while it is 70 percent complete in northern New South Wales.

In Western Australia, the harvest is between 20 and 60 percent complete, while in South Australia it is beginning to gather pace.

"Australian wheat prices are coming under pressure because of the harvest and it is becoming more competitive," said another Singapore-based grains trader.

Australian prime wheat was quoted around $375 a tonne, C&F, about $5 to 10 lower than last week, while Australian standard wheat was offered close to $365 a tonne. Australian hard wheat with 11.5 percent protein content was offered around $390 a tonne.

"It is very difficult to find Australian prime hard wheat with 13.5 to 14 percent protein as quality is not very good," the second Singapore trader said.

Lower protein levels than average are another blow to Australia's overall wheat output, already set to be well down on last year's record crop, after dry weather in Western Australia, the country's largest wheat producing state, stunted yields.

Still, CBH Group said indications from harvests across Western Australia suggest grain production there is likely to surpass 9 million tonnes, the upper end of their forecasts, with wheat expected to account for about 6 million tonnes.

U.S. soft white wheat was offered in Asia at $375 a tonne, C&F, in a bulk cargo of 60,000 tonnes, largely unchanged from last week. Spring wheat with 14 percent protein was quoted at $420 a tonne and hard red winter wheat between $405 and $410.

This week Iraq's state grains board bought a total of 350,000 tonnes of wheat from Australia, Russia and Canada in a tender for a nominal 50,000 tonnes.

South Korea's Daehan Flour Mills bought 48,200 tonnes of milling wheat via tenders on Wednesday. It took 24,500 tonnes of U.S. wheat for shipment in March and 23,700 tonnes of Canadian wheat for February-March arrival.

The country's largest feedmaker, Nonghyup Feed, bought 55,000 tonnes of soymeal in a tender for up to 110,000 tonnes this week. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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