File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - South African yellow corn rose the most in seven sessions as lower-than-usual rainfall in the past two years continued to push up grain prices.

The contract for delivery in March gained 2.9 percent to 2,830 rand ($264) a metric ton by 11:14 a.m. on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg, the most since January 2.

South Africa has about 3.1 million metric tons of corn stocks remaining until April, when the harvest begins, said Corne Louw, an economist at Grain SA, which represents commercial farmers.

The country uses about 900,000 tons a month, indicating a shortfall of about 500,000 tons by April.

Supplies were hampered by low rainfall in the 2012 and 2013 planting seasons, particularly in the North West province.

“Stocks will be tight for the rest of the season,” Louw said in an e-mailed statement January 10.

White corn for delivery in March rose 1.5 percent to 2,954 rand a ton, while wheat dropped 0.7 percent to 3,716 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News