File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - South Africa is likely to raise its 2014 maize output forecast slightly as harvesting draws to a close with little expectation of a big change in the estimate, a survey conducted by Reuters showed on Friday.

An average estimate of six trading houses showed the government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) may inch up the year's forecast to 13.94 million tonnes from previous estimates of 13.89 million tonnes.

The forecasts ranged between 13.89 million tonnes and 14 million tonnes. Maize is the staple crop in South Africa.

The CEC said in March a harvest of 13 million tonnes or above will be the largest in more than three decades.

South Africa harvested 14.4 million tonnes in 1981.

Expectations of a bumper crop have pulled maize prices back from record highs of more than 3,300 rand a tonne hit earlier this year.

The most traded December white maize contract ended 0.22 percent lower at 1,791 rand a tonne on Friday. - Reuters