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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wheat Price Reaches Record as India, Taiwan, Japan Seek Imports

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat prices in Chicago rose to a record, extending gains for a fifth day, as importers, including India, Taiwan and Japan, sought to buy the grain and adverse weather reduced supply in major exporting countries.

India, the world's biggest wheat consumer after China, plans to buy cargoes of 25,000 to 75,000 metric tons each for delivery from October to December, the New Delhi-based company said on the government Web site. The company will decide how much to import by Sept. 3.

Unfavorable weather has damaged crops in major producers including Australia, Europe, Russia and Ukraine. Global inventories of the commodity used to make bread, pastries and biscuits are expected to fall to the lowest in 26 years by May 31, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

``We may see wheat futures go up further as buyers are rushing to secure more and global supplies are very tight,'' said Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at commodity broker Okachi & Co., by phone from Tokyo. ``We anticipate a higher-than-expected number for weekly U.S. export sales later today.''

Wheat for December delivery gained 11.25 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $7.43 a bushel by 7 p.m. Singapore time in electronic trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices more than doubled in the past year.

Overseas orders for U.S. wheat supplies are up 86 percent since June 1 compared with a year earlier, USDA data show.

Taiwan, Japan

The Taiwan Flour Millers Association, which represents 34 grain users, issued a tender tomorrow to import 92,000 tons of U.S. wheat after it failed to buy grain on Aug. 21.

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it bought 30,000 tons of Canadian durum wheat today in a tender under the so-called simultaneous buy and sell system, introduced to loosen government controls over imports.

Grain-growing regions in Australia, the world's third- largest wheat and canola exporter, may have warmer-than-average temperatures in spring, potentially crimping crop development.

There's a 60 percent to 75 percent chance of higher-than- average minimum temperatures from September to November, the bureau of meteorology said on its Web site today.

``There's a shortage of the grain worldwide,'' Pramod Kumar, executive director of Sunil Agro Foods Ltd., said by phone from Bangalore. ``Indian imports will fuel the wheat market globally.''

Record Price

State Trading Corp., run by the government, bought 511,000 tons from Cargill Inc., Toepfer International and Riaz Trading for a record $317 a ton to $330 a ton on July 10 to ensure sufficient supplies and curb inflation.

India may receive offers of $375 to $400 a ton in the new tender, Sunil Agro's Kumar said.

State Trading Corp. is seeking wheat in bulk carriers or containers at eight Indian ports including Mumbai, Kandla, Mundra, Chennai and Tuticorin. Suppliers are required to quote prices on the basis of the port and month of delivery.

India was the world's third-biggest wheat importer in the year ended June 1, with purchases of 6.7 million tons, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service.

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