File image: Reuters

Maize futures closed lower amid quiet trade on Thursday‚ while wheat closed higher on the back of higher Chicago Board of Trade prices.

“It is a quiet time for maize with the crop estimates committee on Tuesday saying 11.2 million tons of maize would be delivered to our silo’s in the year ending April next year. The market does not know how to interpret this information and therefore it was a quiet day for maize with some bulls and some bears around. Deliveries of maize to our silo’s is declining at a rapid pace‚” said Andries van der Walt‚ trader at Vrystaat Mielies.

The near-dated September white maize contract slipped R2.20 to R2‚614.80 a ton‚ while the December white maize contract lifted R3 to R2‚689 a ton. The March 2013 white maize contract lost R10 to R2‚685 a ton.

The near-dated September yellow maize contract was down R12 to R2‚620 a ton‚ the December yellow maize contract dipped R7 to R2‚664 a ton and the March 2013 yellow maize shed R10 to R2‚660 a ton.

The September wheat contract was up R35 to R3‚500 a ton‚ the December wheat contract added R34 to R3‚569 a ton and the March 2013 wheat contract gained R40.80 at R3‚635.80 a ton.

Meanwhile traders speculated that a cut in Russian exports could boost demand for US wheat. The Russian ministry will meet on Friday‚ after trimming its forecast last week for the country’s 2012 grain harvest‚ which included wheat and other crops‚ to 75 million tons‚ amid a drought in that country. Russia previously projected 75 million to 80 million tons‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures for December delivery settled 30 1/4 cents‚ or 3.5%‚ higher at $9.05 3/4 a bushel.

In 2010‚ Russia barred grain exports amid a severe drought. Earlier this month‚ the US Department of Agriculture estimated that Russia would produce 43 million tons of wheat‚ down from 56.23 million last year.

Higher wheat prices provided a lift to corn on Wednesday. Corn and wheat often follow each other because both are used in animal feed.

Corn futures also continued to draw support from ongoing concerns about this year's US crop‚ which has been hit hard by a record-setting drought. Corn futures for December delivery settled up 18 cents‚ or 2.3%‚ at $8.13 1/2 a bushel.

US soybean futures rallied Wednesday as strong demand and worries about diminishing US supplies continued to support prices.

Traders continued to watch developments from Hurricane Isaac. Soaking rains from the storm would not benefit much of the nation’s soybean crop but could wash out some fields in the south and disrupt harvests at a time when analysts were already concerned about domestic supplies dwindling.

Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for September delivery settled 1.8% higher at $17.63 1/4 a bushel. - I-Net Bridge