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South African Corn Gains on Concern About Insufficient Rain

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- South African corn gained the most in more than two weeks as concern mounts that there won’t be enough rain in the main growing areas. The rand weakened against the dollar.

Yellow corn for delivery in December, the most active contract climbed 1.4 percent, the most since Oct. 19, to 2,527 rand ($290) a metric ton by the midday close in Johannesburg. The white variety increased 1.1 percent to 2,477 rand a ton.

Farmers need at least 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain by the end of December to ensure optimal conditions for corn plants, Johan van den Berg, an agricultural meteorologist at Santam Agriculture, a division of South africa’s largest short-term insurer, Santam Ltd., said on Oct. 26.

The rand declined 0.8 percent to 8.6979 a dollar as of 1:04 p.m. A weaker rand increases the price of imported grains.

“People are still worried about the lack of rain in some growing areas, Brink van Wyk, a trader at BVG (Pty) Ltd., said by phone in Johannesburg. ‘‘The rain is becoming more and more important as planting season approaches and the rand weakened.’’

South Africa’s Free State province, which produces 40 percent of the nation’s corn, is partly cloudy and warm with isolated showers and thunderstorms in the central parts, but scattered in the east where severe thunderstorms are expected today, the South African Weather Service said on its website. Mpumalanga province, which produces 21 percent of corn, had morning drizzle today and is cloudy and cold. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected.

South Africa is the continent’s largest corn producer. Meal made from white corn is one of the country’s staple foods and the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed.

Wheat for delivery in December also rose, by 0.9 percent to 3,719 rand a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at tmokhema@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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