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South African Yellow-Corn Drops to 3-Week Low as Rains Forecast

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- South African yellow corn futures fell to the lowest level in more than three weeks on forecasts for rain in some of the country’s main growing regions.

Yellow corn for delivery in July slumped 3.5 percent to 2,184 rand ($196) a metric ton by the close in Johannesburg, the lowest for the contract since Jan. 9. The white variety for March dropped 2.4 percent to 3,216 rand a ton.

The town of Welkom in the Free State province, the area that grows about 41 percent of the nation’s corn, has as much as an 80 percent chance of rain this week, according to the South African Weather Service’s website. Lichtenburg in the North West province, which harvests 14 percent of the country’s grain is also predicted to have rain for the whole week.

“There has been good rain this side,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader in Kroonstad in the Free State province, said by phone. “The markets had moved up on the basis of no rain and now with rain, we will see the price going down.”

South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of corn, also called maize. Meal made from the white variety is used for a staple food known locally as pap, and yellow corn is mostly fed to animals.

Wheat for delivery in March declined 0.7 percent to 3,805 rand a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at tmokhema1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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