* China seeks Australian wheat for Jan-March shipment
* Australian wheat prices up on crop concerns, demand
* Thailand sells 30,000 T corn to Philippines
* Oversupply of soymeal in Vietnam hits prices, imports
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Chinese buyers were seeking Australian wheat for shipment over January to March, while Thai exporters sold 30,000 tonnes of corn this week to the Philippines for delivery in the last two months of 2013.
Australian wheat prices rallied, tracking gains in Chicago futures and on concerns over dryness in the country’s eastern grain belt which is threatening to curb yields.
Australian standard wheat was quoted around $320-$325 a tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), to Southeast Asia for December arrival, up $15-$20 a tonne from last week. Australian prime wheat was being offered at $335 a tonne and Australian hard wheat at $345 a tonne.
“Australian wheat prices are rising because very little rain is expected for crops in New South Wales and Queensland over the next eight days,” said one Sydney-based trader. “China has been trying to get hold of Australian wheat. They have been talking to some big traders.”
China is snapping up wheat from Australia and the United States this year after about 20 million tonnes or around 16 percent of its crop was damaged by adverse weather.
Chinese wheat prices have hit record peaks due to dwindling high-quality supplies and growing expectations state purchase prices will rise before the planting season begins next month.
U.S. wheat rose to its highest in more than two months on Friday and is on track for its biggest weekly gain in 14 months, buoyed by expectations of strong demand from China and Brazil. For the week, front-month wheat is up 5 percent, its biggest weekly gain since July 2012.
Indian wheat with 12 percent protein was quoted around $315 a tonne, C&F, in the Middle East as compared with $305 a tonne being offered from the Black Sea region.
In the feed grain market, traders sold 30,000 tonnes of corn to millers in the Philippines at $285 a tonne for shipment in November and December.
“Thai new-crop is coming out and we expect to see more deals,” said one trader in Singapore. “Indian corn is still not getting traded.”
Indian corn was quoted by sellers at $235, free on board, for December delivery with buyers looking at a price range of $210-$215 a tonne.
South Korea’s Korea Corn Processing Industry Association (KOCOPIA) bought 55,000 tonnes of corn and another feedmaker, Major Feedmill Group, is seeking up to a combined 280,000 tonnes of corn, South Korean traders said.
KOCOPIA purchased the worldwide origin corn products for January arrival via a tender closed on Thursday. It bought from Concordia at $247.50 a tonne, C&F, they said.
Soybean meal prices in the Vietnamese market are coming under pressure because of oversupply, traders said.
“Some of the local traders have a lot of stock so they are cutting prices and selling,” said a second Singapore-based trader. “They have sold some volumes for as low of $525 a tonne while the replacement cost today is $575 for Argentinean meal.” (Editing by Himani Sarkar)