Wheat reaches five-year high
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Johannesburg - Wheat futures traded in South Africa reached a five-year high and yellow corn touched the highest level in three weeks as prices for both grains advanced in US trading.
Wheat for delivery in May added 1.4 percent to 4,056 rand ($378) a metric ton by the noon close on the South African Futures Exchange after reaching 4,080 rand, the highest for a most-active contract since June 17, 2008.
Yellow corn for delivery in July gained 0.9 percent to 2,258 rand a ton, the highest settlement since February 18.
The price of wheat climbed as much as 1.9 percent today on the Chicago Board of Trade, and corn added as much as 1 percent.
Wheat also rose in the last few sessions in Johannesburg trading amid tensions over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and its potential threat to export supplies of the grain.
“The international market prices have gone up drastically from yesterday, and we mostly follow the US,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based Senwes Ltd., said by telephone.
Ukraine is South Africa’s second-largest corn supplier, accounting for 36 percent of imports since the current season started at the end of September, according to the South African Grain Information Service’s website.
A vote by Ukraine’s Crimea region to join Russia in a March 16 referendum may impede shipping, Commerzbank AG said today.
White corn for delivery in May lost 1.1 percent to a one- week low of 2,479 rand a ton on prospects for better weather.
The town of Welkom in Free State province, the area that grows 41 percent of the nation’s total corn crop and harvests 45 percent of the white variety, will have sunshine and temperatures as high as 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) from today until March 19, according to the South African Weather Service’s website.
“At this stage, it looks like it will be warmer and drier in April,” Grobbelaar said.
“This will mean more maize for the month of May,” he said, using another name for corn.
Most parts of South Africa have had heavy rains this month.
Floods will probably delay corn harvesting in the eastern Mpumalanga province, Grain SA chief executive Jannie de Villiers said by e-mail.
South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of corn.
White corn is the source for a meal that’s a staple food in the country, while the yellow variety is mainly fed to animals. - Bloomberg News