White maize falls on speculation

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Johannesburg - White corn futures traded in South Africa dropped the most in 10 days amid speculation of a bumper crop this year.

White corn for delivery in July fell as much as 1.7 percent to 2,093 rand ($195) a metric ton, the biggest drop since March 17, before trading at 2,102 rand by 11:03 a.m. on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The yellow variety, used in animal feed, fell 0.9 percent to 2,191.20 rand a ton.

“While the rains came late this year, when they did come the distribution was very, very good,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based Senwes, said by telephone.

“There will be a lot of maize available come July,” he said, using the South African term for corn.

Rains fell on South Africa’s Free State province, the area that grows about 40 percent of the nation’s corn, in the last six weeks, helping farmers who had endured a dry start to the year.

White maize is used for a staple food known locally as pap.

South Africa, the continent’s largest corn producer, will probably increase its forecast for output of the crop this season 1.6 percent, a survey showed.

Local farmers may harvest 12.6 million tons of corn, according to the median prediction of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

That compares with last month’s 12.4 million-ton forecast by the Crop Estimates Committee and is 7.7 percent bigger than the 11.7 million tons produced last year.

The committee will release its survey today. - Bloomberg News

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