Asia Grains-Malaysia eyes Nov-Dec shipment corn, Indian prices ease
* Malaysia in market for 120,000 T of corn
* Indian grain prices ease on weaker rupee
* Buyers expect lower corn, soybean prices
* Indian corn offered at $235/T vs LatAm at $245/T
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Malaysian feed millers are looking to cover 120,000 tonnes of corn for arrival in November-December as a depreciating Indian rupee has made grain shipments from the South Asian country competitive.
Asian grain buyers stayed on the sidelines this week on expectation of further decline in global prices amid forecasts of near-record corn and soybean production in the United States.
Feed makers in Asia have largely covered their corn supplies up to December as cheaper cargoes from Brazil and Argentina prompted key buyers in the region, including Indonesia and Vietnam, to make forward purchases.
"It is just the Malaysian buyers who are looking for a couple of panamax cargoes for November and December. Most importers are pretty much covered for rest of the year," said one Singapore-based trader.
"They will now be looking for January shipment but no one is in any hurry as prices are expected to come down."
Chicago Board of Trade new-crop December corn has lost almost 3 percent this week on hopes of all-time high production in the United States, despite recent dryness threatening yields in the Midwest.
November soybeans, which gained almost 15 percent in the past three weeks on concerns over dry weather in the U.S. crop belt, fell 2.5 percent on Wednesday as updated forecasts showed better weather.
Argentine corn was offered around $245-$250 a tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), in Southeast Asia this week, compared with $275 a tonne being quoted for U.S. new-crop cargoes for December shipment.
INDIAN GRAIN PRICES & U.S. WEATHER
India's corn and wheat prices have eased because of a steep decline in the rupee which has lost almost 20 percent of its value against the dollar this year, falling for the last four months.
As a result, India's new-crop corn is quoted around $235 a tonne for December arrival compared with $245 a few weeks ago.
"Indian corn is most competitive for December shipment," said another trader in Singapore. "Malaysia might take Indian corn but rest of the market in Asia is pretty much covered with South American cargoes."
India's corn exports could plummet by around 40 percent in the next marketing year, with buyers turning to cheaper supplies from South America after a rain-damaged crop pushed up Indian prices and shook confidence in the grain.
Indian wheat prices have also slid because of the falling rupee, making the grain attractive for importers in Asia and the Middle East.
Indian wheat is quoted around $285 a tonne, C&F, in the Middle East, down from $320-$325 a tonne offered last month. The price of $285 is almost at par with cargoes from the Black Sea region which has been stiff competition to India since entering the market in August.
South Korea's Samyang Milmax Corp, DongA One Corp and Korea Flour Mills together bought 22,500 tonnes of U.S. milling wheat in a tender this week. They purchased wheat from Itochu for shipment between Nov. 10 and Dec. 10.
Asian grain buyers will be closely watching the U.S. weather for a price direction.
There are forecasts for a few showers by the weekend in portions of the U.S. Midwest, but dry weather elsewhere remains a concern.
Hot and dry weather across the U.S. Midwest during August and continued dryness in early September are eroding corn and soybean yield prospects, although a record corn crop and a large soy harvest are still likely, U.S. grain analysts said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Michael Perry)
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