South African maize and wheat prices closed the Friday session lower due to a slightly stronger rand and lower Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT) prices.

At 11.59am on Friday the rand was bid at R8.8935 to the US dollar from Thursday’s close of R8.9020.

The rand has come under pressure due to US fiscal cliff worries and unrest in the local farming and mining industries‚ but lifted slightly on Friday after foreigners bought some South African bonds.

“A lot of factors influence the price of maize and wheat‚ but today grain prices are softer due to a firmer rand and lower overnight Chicago prices‚” a local trader said.

White maize for December delivery‚ the most active contract on the South African Futures Exchange‚ shed R43 to close at R2‚434 a ton.

Yellow maize for December delivery‚ the most active contract for yellow maize‚ dipped R31 to close at R2‚494 a ton. The grain is used mainly as animal feed in SA.

Wheat for December delivery closed R23 lower at R3‚683 a ton.

US corn futures fell on lower soybean prices and on worries about weak export demand for US corn‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported. December corn settled down 4 1/2 cents or 0.6% at $7.21 1/4 a bushel.

Soybean futures plummeted last Friday after the US government raised its estimate for the size of the US harvest by more than expected. The news has eased concerns about tight world supplies of the oilseed.

Lower corn and soybean prices pulled wheat lower as well. Wheat traders are also waiting for exports to pick up‚ after saying for weeks that dwindling supplies in competing areas including the Black Sea region could boost demand for US wheat.

CBOT December wheat settled down 3 1/4 cents or 0.4% at $8.45 1/2 a bushel‚ a three-month closing low for the front-month contract. - I-Net Bridge