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South Africa Raises Corn-Production Forecast by 1.8% for Season

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa, the continent’s largest corn producer, raised its forecast for output of the grain this season by 1.8 percent, according to the government’s Crop Estimates Committee.

Growers probably reaped 11.7 million metric tons of the grain, Marda Scheepers, a spokeswoman for the Pretoria-based committee, said by phone today. This is more than the group’s prediction of 11.5 million tons last month and is bigger than the 11.5 million-ton median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The forecast for yellow corn was raised 3.5 percent to 6.14 million tons while that for the white variety was unchanged.

“Yellow-corn yields were better than expected, and South African Grain Information Service data on deliveries show a better crop,” Scheepers said of the committee’s last estimate before final figures for the season are released on Nov. 28.

South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of corn, may produce more of the yellow than the white variety for the first time in 19 years this season, according to the committee’s data. Meal made from white corn is one of the country’s staple foods while yellow is mainly used as animal feed.

White corn for delivery in December, the most active contact, rose 1.4 percent, the most since Aug. 26, to 2,344 rand a ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange today. The yellow variety for delivery in the same month gained 0.8 percent to 2,156 rand a ton.

Summer Grains

Estimates for output of sunflower seed, soy, groundnuts and dry beans were unchanged from last month’s predictions, while the forecast for farmers’ sorghum crop was cut 2.2 percent to 151,064 tons.

Farmers may produce 1.76 million tons of wheat this season, the committee said. This is less than the 1.78 million-ton forecast it made last month and compares to the 1.79 million-ton median estimate of four traders surveyed by Bloomberg. The nation produced 1.87 million tons last year.

South Africa, a net importer of wheat, is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia and the region’s biggest importer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Wheat for delivery in December gained 0.9 percent, the most since Sept. 3, to 3,397 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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