White maize at lowest in 3 years

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Johannesburg - White corn in South Africa fell to the lowest level in almost three years on an outlook for ample global supplies.

The white corn contract for delivery in July declined 1.5 percent to 1,823 rand a metric ton, the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since July 18, 2011 by the noon close on the South African Futures Exchange.

The yellow variety decreased 1 percent to 1,940 rand a ton, the lowest since February 13 last year.

Corn futures have fallen 20 percent in the past year in Chicago, as the US Department of Agriculture predicts that farmers will harvest a record 13.935 billion bushels in the season starting September 1.

“The Americans are looking at a very big corn crop this season,” Brink van Wyk, a trader with BVG (Pty) Ltd. in Pretoria, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“This, plus the fact that we are now harvesting the second-biggest corn crop ever in South Africa” contributed to the decline, he said.

A Bloomberg survey of six analysts showed that local farmers may harvest 13.55 million tons of the grain this season.

That would make it the biggest crop since 1981 when the nation produced 14.1 million tons, according to the country’s Crop Estimates Committee.

South Africa is the continent’s biggest producer of corn.

Meal from white corn is used to make a staple food known as pap.

The yellow variety is for animal feed.

Wheat for December delivery fell 0.7 percent to 3,600 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News

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