Asia Grains-Thailand buys feed wheat, Vietnam takes LatAm corn

Fri Aug 2, 2013 4:03am EDT

* Thai mills buy 110,000 T of feed wheat for Oct-Nov

* Vietnam takes South American corn for Dec shipment

* India sells wheat to Bangladesh, eyes more deals

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Thai millers bought 110,000 tonnes of feed wheat for October-November shipment in recent deals, while buyers in Vietnam booked South American corn cargoes for December arrival.

Indian grain exporters were active this week, selling some 40,000 tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh as global prices firmed, traders said.

Thai millers paid $258-$259 a tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), for optional origin wheat but traders said the cargoes will come from the Black Sea region.

"It will be completely Black Sea as you can't get cheaper prices for feed wheat from any other origin," said one Singapore-based trader who was aware of the deals.

Wheat buyers in Asia are looking to replace Indian and Australian cargoes in the lower-end feed grain market with cheaper supplies from the Black Sea which are returning to the region after a three-year gap.

Vietnamese grain importers bought South American corn for December shipment, taking close to 150,000 tonnes at around $255-$260 a tonne, C&F, in deals signed over the last few weeks.

Typically, Vietnam buys cargoes just a month or two in advance but this year the country has been making forward purchases as it takes advantage of lower global prices.

"Vietnam is almost fully booked until December shipment," said another grain trader in Singapore. "This is something unusual for a country which mainly takes prompt shipments."

Global corn prices have fallen more than 40 percent since hitting a record high of $8.43-3/4 a bushel in August last year when a devastating drought across the U.S. grain belt curbed world supplies.

INDIAN WHEAT, UKRAINIAN CORN

Asia buyers are also looking to buy corn from Ukraine which is offering attractive prices but no deals have been signed.

Ukrainian corn is being offered around $245 a tonne, C&F, compared with South American corn being sold at $250 a tonne for November-December shipment.

"Prices are attractive for Ukrainian corn but we have not seen any deals taking place," the second Singapore trader said. "Some buyers might be looking for a bigger discount. There could some buying interest if the spread widens to $15 a tonne."

In India, exporters are actively selling wheat to millers in Bangladesh. Around 40,000 tonnes of Indian wheat has been sold at $282-$290 a tonne, free on rail.

"Wheat from eastern Uttar Pradesh (northern India) will be transported to Kolkata and then sent by road to Bangladesh," said a trader in India. "We expect more deals as there is good buying interest."

U.S. wheat gained 0.6 percent on Friday, taking its gains for the week to 1.8 percent.

Wheat millers in Pakistan are looking to sign more deals for Russian wheat after taking 250,000 tonnes, which is likely to start arriving by the second week of August.

"I think people are just waiting for government's decision on withholding tax after which there should be more buying," said a Karachi-based trader.

Authorities in Pakistan are under pressure from the industry and state governments to abolish a 5 percent withholding tax on wheat imports, which will bring down the cost of the imported grain. The cabinet's Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) is likely to take up the issue in the coming days, traders said.

Pakistan is set to become a net wheat importer this year with purchases climbing to the highest in five years after delayed planting and reduced fertilizer use hit domestic output and drove up local prices. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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