AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz, file
Johannesburg – South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to slightly lower its summer maize forecast when it gives its third estimate next week, although a bumper harvest is still predicted, a Reuters survey of four analysts and institutions showed on Thursday.

The CEC, which will provide its next forecast on Tuesday, is seen pegging the harvest at 14.175 million tonnes, about 1 percent lower than its previous estimate of 14.32 million tonnes.

This would still be 82percent more than the 7.78 million tonnes reaped last year, when drought hit the crop.

The range was 13.5 million to 14.6 million tonnes.

This season’s crop has benefited hugely from good rains, but Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said yields might be depressed slightly in parts of the country’s maize belt where plantings were late and recent rainfall has been scattered.

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The white maize contract due in July was 1.15 percent lower on Thursday, at R1879 a tonne, about 65 percent lower than record peaks of over R5 000 a tonne scaled early last year during the drought.