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South African Corn, Soybeans Fall as USDA Raises Global Stocks

South African corn futures fell to the lowest level in more than 11 months after the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised estimates for world inventories. Soybeans declined.

Yellow corn for delivery in July, the most active contract, fell 2.1 percent to 1,873.20 rand ($211) a metric ton, the lowest since Feb. 24, by the close in Johannesburg. The white variety for delivery in the same month retreated 2.2 percent to 1,821 rand a ton. Soybeans for May dropped 2.1 percent to 4,570 rand a ton.

Worldwide corn inventories at the end of the marketing year will be 118.04 million tons, up from 115.99 million predicted last month, the USDA said in a Feb. 8 report. Inventories of soybeans globally on Sept. 30 will total 60.12 million tons, more than the 59.46 million estimated last month, according to the USDA on Feb. 8.

“The market as a whole is reacting to the USDA report,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a trader at Trademar Futures (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “Production was up from what was estimated and caused Chicago prices to go down and we follow them.”

Corn futures for March delivery, the most active contract, fell 0.2 percent to $7.0775 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 12:39 p.m. in London. Soybeans for delivery in the same month, dropped 1.3 percent to $14.34 a bushel.

South Africa is the the continent’s largest producer of corn, also called maize. Yellow corn is mainly used as animal feed while the white variety is a staple food.

Corn is the world’s biggest crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, U.S. government figures show.

South African wheat fell 0.9 percent to 3,500 rand a ton.

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