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South African Corn Declines as Rand Strengthens Against Dollar

South African corn fell as the rand gained to its strongest level against the dollar in more than five weeks, lowering the cost of imported grains relative to local produce.

White corn for July delivery, the most active contract, dropped 0.4 percent to 2,089.80 rand ($233) a metric ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange. The yellow variety for delivery in the same month declined 0.4 percent to 2,069 rand a ton.

The currency of Africa’s biggest economy appreciated as much as 0.6 percent to 8.9407 per dollar, the highest on an intraday basis since Feb. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It traded 0.2 percent stronger at 8.9538 per dollar by midday in Johannesburg.

“With a stronger rand, our prices came down,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based Senwes Ltd., said by phone.

The country exported white corn to Italy for the first time in two months last week, the South African Grain Information Service said on its website. The nation shipped 27,700 tons of white corn to Italy, it said.

“They will buy our maize if our prices make sense and are competitive with the rest of the world,” Brink van Wyk, a trader at BVG Pty Ltd., said by phone from Pretoria. “We will see more exports with our competitive price.”

The rand has weakened 4.5 percent against the euro this year, making South African corn more attractive to international buyers as imports became cheaper.

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

Wheat for May delivery was little changed at 3,383 rand a ton.

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