Asia Grains-Thai mills buy Indian wheat as global prices slide

Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:51am EST

* Thai feed mills buy 40,000 T of Indian wheat

* Indian wheat prices ease to around $295 FOB

* Delays in South American shipments raise concerns

* Malaysia may seek 60,000 T April shipment corn

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Thai feed millers bought 40,000 tonnes of Indian wheat this week, taking advantage of weakening global prices, while Malaysian importers are likely to be in the market for 60,000 tonnes of corn for shipment in April.

Indian wheat was sold to Thailand at $315 a tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), down from $325 a tonne paid by feed millers in the Philippines two weeks ago, traders said.

"Some trading companies are very aggressively selling Indian wheat," said one trader with an international trading company in Singapore. "They are selling below the market price because demand is slowing."

Asian grain buyers slowed purchases this week, hoping for a further decline in global prices on expectations of bumper supplies from South America and the United States.

Chicago Board of Trade wheat is on track for its biggest weekly decline since early January as a snowstorm in the U.S. Plains brings relief to the drought-stricken winter crop.

Corn is heading for a third consecutive week of decline with hopes of ample supplies in Brazil from April and the United States by September.

The Philippines is likely to cover its feed wheat requirement for June in the coming weeks with traders estimating the demand at around 110,000 tonnes.

Malaysia, which mainly imports corn for feeding livestock, has yet to cover at least 60,000 tonnes of corn for April shipment.

"Buyers in Malaysia are waiting and watching as no one wants to be caught long in a market like this," said one trader who supplies South American and Indian corn to a group of feed millers in Malaysia. "I think they will soon try and cover one panamax cargo."

Taiwan's MFIG corn purchasing group has bought 60,000 tonnes of corn to be sourced from Argentina in a tender which closed on Thursday.

Some 5,000 tonnes was purchased at the outright price of $319.37 a tonne, C&F. The remaining 55,000 tonnes was purchased at 133.5 cents C&F a bushel over the July Chicago corn contract .

Asian soybean buyers are getting jittery about expected delays in shipments from Brazil, which is facing a severe congestion at its main ports.

This could force some soymeal importers to buy Indian cargoes for prompt shipment just as Chinese buyers are locking in soybeans from the United States, traders said.

"Some buyers may have to turn to India if their cargoes from South America get delayed," said the first Singapore trader. "But it will be limited to just a few cargoes or some containers for spot requirement."

Chinese importers have booked up to nine cargoes of U.S. soybeans this week for shipment beginning next month, with port congestion in Brazil likely to delay shipments from South America's largest exporter.

At least two of those cargoes, each of between 50,000 and 60,000 tonnes, were previous Chinese purchases of Brazilian soybeans that were switched to U.S. Gulf shipment due to backups at Brazilian ports, of up to 40 days.

Fifty-nine ships were waiting to load grain at Brazil's Santos port on Thursday versus 29 a year ago, data from SA Commodities/Unimar showed. At the other main grain port, Paranagua, 82 ships were waiting, compared with 31 ships at this time last year. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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