Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa exported the most white corn last week for 2012 as drought threatens the harvest in top exporter U.S. and makes countries such as Mexico, the second-biggest importer of the grain, seek alternatives.
The nation, Africa’s biggest producer of corn, exported 92,856 metric tons of the white variety, used as staple food, in the week through Aug. 3, the most since the week through Dec. 30., according to the South African Grain Information Service. That included 87,300 tons shipped to Mexico.
The worst drought in the U.S. since 1988 may have cut corn production to 10.79 billion bushels, 17 percent less than the USDA’s July forecast of 12.97 billion, according to St. Louis, Missouri-based Doane Advisory Services Co. In South Africa, shipments of yellow and white corn rose 18 percent from a year earlier to 2.44 million tons in the season ended April 27, the largest amount shipped in at least nine years, it said on May 2. The African nation exported 1.16 million tons of white corn to Mexico in the season ended April 27, making it the biggest buyer of the country’s grain, according to Sagis.
“The exports we see now were previously organized and they are mainly due to the fact that the crop is uncertain in the U.S. where Mexico imports a lot of maize from,” Paul du Plessis, a trader at Brisen Commodities (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Pretoria today. “We will be seeing a lot of these exports of white maize to Mexico as they look to us as an alternative to the U.S.”
South Africa didn’t import any white or yellow corn in the week, the Pretoria-based organization said in a statement published on its website today. It exported 2,690 tons of the yellow variety to neighboring countries.
“We have a small surplus of white maize that we can export. Exports are brisk and that is good, we have more vessels in Durban going to Mexico,” Brink van Wyk, a trader at BVG (Pty) Ltd., said by phone.
White corn for December delivery increased 1.6 percent to 2,796 rand ($344) a ton by the close in Johannesburg, while the yellow variety rose 1.2 percent to 2,761 rand a ton.
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