Johannesburg - South African wheat futures fell to the lowest level in two weeks after the rand gained against the dollar, making imports of the grain cheaper.

Wheat for May delivery dropped 0.6 percent to 4,020 rand ($380) a metric ton, the lowest since March 14 by the midday close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The cereal’s weekly loss was 3.6 percent, the first decline in four weeks.

The rand rose 0.1 percent to 10.5997 rand at 2:53 p.m. in Johannesburg.

It advanced 1.2 percent yesterday after central bank Governor Gill Marcus signaled interest rates may increase.

“The much stronger rand played a role in today’s prices,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp-based Senwes, said by phone today. “We trade on import parity.”

While South Africa is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest grower of the grain after Ethiopia, the nation is still a net importer of wheat and usually follows the international benchmark price.

White corn dropped 0.7 percent to 2,080 rand a ton, while the yellow variety gained 0.1 percent to 2,181 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News