File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - South Africa is likely to raise its maize output forecast for this year to 13.27 million tonnes from 13.029 million tonnes in the previous forecast, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.

The estimates from five trading houses polled by Reuters ranged between 13.029 million tonnes and 13.9 million tonnes.

South Africa, the continent's biggest maize producer, is on track for its biggest harvest in more than three decades, when it reaped 14.4 million tonnes in 1981.

The government's Crop Estimates Committee will release its fourth production forecast for summer crops on Tuesday.

Maize is the staple crop in South Africa and a bigger crop will be a relief for the country after stocks from last year were depleted by large export commitments.

Maize prices hit record highs of more than 3,300 rand ($320) a tonne earlier this year but have since retreated on the expected large crop.

“The price can drop a little further due to harvesting pressure,” said Dawid Snyman, a sector information manager at Absa Agribusiness.

“Too much maize will be available up to the end of August which will allow the market to respond.”

The most traded July white maize contract was down 0.55 percent at 1,882.60 rand a tonne at 11:10 SA time. - Reuters