Johannesburg - South African wheat futures fell to the lowest level in almost five months as the nation imported the cereal from the Black Sea region.

Wheat for delivery in July dropped 0.9 percent to 3,790 rand ($353) a metric ton by the midday close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

That’s the lowest level for a most-active contract since January 22.

The nation imported 53,351 tons of wheat in the week to June 13 and that included 47,120 tons from the Ukraine and 6,231 tons from Canada, according to Pretoria-based South African Grain Information Service on its website.

The country has imported 20,066 tons from Russia so far this season.

“Wheat is going down as it is now much cheaper to import new-season Russian wheat than it is to buy local,” BVG (Pty) Ltd. trader Brink van Wyk said in response to e-mailed questions.

“Millers are not keen on buying local but are rather importing big quantities, so wheat will continue to be pressured.”

South Africa, which is a net importer of wheat, is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain and the region’s biggest buyer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

White corn for delivery in July rose 0.2 percent to 1,855 rand a ton, while the yellow variety dropped 0.1 percent to 1,963.20 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News