File picture: Andres Stapff

Johannesburg - South African soybean futures for May delivery advanced for a third day on shortage concerns and as a drop in the rand made imports more expensive.

The contract, the most active, increased 0.6 percent to 6,265 rand a metric ton by the noon close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

White corn for delivery in July was little changed at 2,195 rand a ton, while the yellow variety rose 1.2 percent to 2,250 rand a ton.

The nation may reduce soybean plantings 0.1 percent to 516,000 hectares (1.27 million acres) this year from a year earlier, according to a report by the Crop Estimates Committee.

South Africa produced 784,500 tons of the oilseed in the previous season.

The committee will announce its first summer crop production estimate on February 27.

“One thing for sure, there will be a shortage of soybeans,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based grain trader Senwes Ltd., said today by phone.

“The rand weakened today, causing prices to go up and there is a big demand for soybeans. It has to be imported.”

The rand fell to its lowest level against the dollar in a week, declining as much as 0.6 percent, after a Chinese manufacturing gauge slumped, raising concern that growth may be slowing in the biggest buyer of South African raw materials.

Wheat futures for delivery in March rose 0.8 percent to 3,891 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News