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South African Corn Declines for Third Day as Rand Strengthens

South African corn futures dropped for a third day after the rand strengthened the most in almost a month against the dollar, reducing the cost of imports and cutting demand for locally produced grain.

White corn for March delivery, the most active contract, dropped 0.6 percent to 2,165 rand ($241) a metric ton by the close in Johannesburg. The yellow variety for delivery in July declined 0.9 percent to 2,076 rand a ton.

The rand strengthened as much as 0.8 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Dec. 27, to 8.9757 a dollar after depreciating to a four-year low on Jan. 23.

“There was a bit of a rand strength and that took prices down,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader, said by phone from Kroonstad in the Free State province.

South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of the grain. Meal made from white corn, which is also called maize, is one of the country’s staple foods, while the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed.

Wheat for delivery in March decreased 1.2 percent to 3,635.20 rand a ton.

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