File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - South African wheat gained as tensions between Russia and Ukraine increased concern that imports from Europe will be curbed.

White and yellow corn rose.

Wheat for delivery in May increased 0.5 percent to 3,905 rand a metric ton, the highest in more than a week, by the midday close on the South African Futures Exchange.

Ukraine is South Africa’s biggest supplier of wheat after Russia, accounting for 36 percent of imports since the season started at the end of September, according to data on the grain information service’s website.

The US and European Union put Russian President Vladimir Putin on notice that they will be united on imposing sanctions if he’s unwilling to defuse the crisis and pursue a negotiated solution.

“The Ukrainian situation still has an effect as we import from them,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp-based Senwes Ltd., said by phone.

South Africa is a net importer of the grain and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest grower after Ethiopia, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

White corn for delivery in July increased 1.7 percent to 2,169 rand a ton, the highest in two weeks.

The yellow variety for delivery in the same month rose 1.6 percent to 2,249 rand a ton, the highest since February 18.

Corn traded in Chicago jumped to a six-month high today and was poised for a bull market as demand rose for exports from the US amid the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

“The global price is derived from America and what happens to them usually happens to us,” Grobbelaar said.

South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of corn. White corn is the source for a meal that’s a staple food in the country, while the yellow variety is mainly fed to animals. - Bloomberg News