Asia Grains-Australia sells wheat, Indian soymeal prices rise


* Australia sells wheat to Indonesia, Malaysia

* Indian soymeal prices rise on stronger rupee

* Spread between Indian-LatAm soymeal narrows

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Australian exporters soldwheat to millers in Indonesia and Malaysia this week, while astrengthening Indian rupee lifted soymeal prices for exportsfrom the South Asian country.

New-crop Australian standard wheat was quoted around$300-$310 a tonne, including cost and freight to Southeast Asia,up around $10 from last week. Australian prime wheat was beingoffered around $315-$317 a tonne and Australian hard wheat at$330 a tonne.

"Australian wheat has been traded in Southeast Asia in thelast few days as prices are firming up on strong global demand,"said one Singapore-based trader.

Chicago wheat futures have gained almost 5 percentthis week, its biggest weekly gain in 14 months, driven bystrong global demand for the grain.

U.S. exporters loaded and shipped more wheat last week toglobal buyers than in any week in at least the past 23 years,with most of the grain headed for China and Brazil, according toU.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Exporters shipped 1.204 million tonnes of U.S. wheat in theweek ended Sept. 12, including 406,700 tonnes of mostly soft redwinter wheat and white wheat to China, and 186,400 tonnes ofhard red winter wheat to Brazil, data going back to 1990 showed.

Australian wheat is also in strong demand as its spread withBlack Sea wheat has narrowed in Asia, traders said. Australianstandard wheat is selling at premium of $12-$15 to Black Seawheat, down from a spread of $30 a tonne a couple of weeks ago.

"Mills in Southeast Asian will any day prefer Australianwheat to Black Sea wheat at the current price difference," saidone Sydney-based trader.

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture bought 108,901 tonnes offood wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in aregular tender this week.


In the feed grains market, Indian soymeal was being offeredfor export this week at higher prices as the rupee strengthenedagainst the dollar.

Indian soymeal has risen to $515 a tonne, free alongsideship, compared with $500-$505 last week, while rival SouthAmerican soymeal values have eased following a decline in theU.S. futures.

U.S. soymeal futures slid more than 5 percent thisweek, tracking weakness in the soybean market, which lostground on forecasts for crop-friendly weather that is expectedto aid the development of late-planted soybeans.

The Indian rupee hit its highest in nearly five weeks onThursday, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision not to dialback its easy money policy is expected to provide a reprieve tothe local central bank in its policy making.

This has narrowed the spread between Indian and SouthAmerican soymeal prices to around $20 a tonne from $35 a tonnelast week.

"Indian soymeal is still attractive but the firming rupeehas eroded its attractiveness," said another Singapore-basedgrains trader. "Buyers will still take Indian meal but salesmight slow down."

Asian grain buyers are keeping a close watch on U.S. cornand soybean harvests, which are likely to influence prices. "People are looking at yields from early harvests and corn looksto be every good," the first Singapore trader said. (Editing by Tom Hogue)

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