File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - South African maize futures declined for the first time in five days as the rand strengthened against the dollar for a second day, making it cheaper to import the grain.

Wheat also dropped.

White maize for delivery in July fell 2.5 percent to 1,651 rand a metric ton, the lowest for the contract since July 14, by the midday close on the South African Futures Exchange.

The yellow variety for delivery in December fell 2.6 percent to 1,818 rand a ton.

The rand gained 0.2 percent to 10.6279 at 3:30 p.m. in Johannesburg.

The South African Reserve Bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point on July 17.

“The rand strengthened from Friday, probably due to the 0.25 percent increase in South Africa’s interest rates on Thursday last week,” Brink van Wyk, a Pretoria-based trader with BVG (Pty) Ltd., said by e-mail.

South Africa is the biggest producer of maize on the continent.

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

The yellow variety is used for animal feed.

Wheat for delivery in December dropped 1.1 percent to 3,505 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News