Johannesburg - South African wheat futures rose to the highest level in almost six weeks, tracking the global benchmark that advanced following worsening crop conditions in the US, the top exporter.

The contract for July-delivery wheat climbed for a fourth day, adding 0.2 percent to 4,065 rand a metric ton, the highest since March 26, by the midday close on the South African Futures Exchange.

The cereal for delivery in the same month increased 1.8 percent yesterday on the Chicago Board of Trade.

About 38 percent of the US winter wheat crop was in poor or very poor condition as of May 4 from 34 percent a week earlier, the US Department of Agriculture said yesterday.

“The negative crop data had a direct bearing” on South African wheat futures, Lindy van Blommestein, a trader at Farmwise Grains (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg today.

South Africa is the sub-Saharan region’s largest grower of the grain after Ethiopia, according to USDA data.

It’s the area’s biggest importer of the cereal after Nigeria and Sudan. - Bloomberg News