White corn in South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of the grain, fell the most in more than 14 months after farmers last week delivered the biggest amount this season, curbing concern about the effects of a drought on output, and as imports continued.
White corn for delivery this month slumped 4.5 percent, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since April 2014, to 3,009 rand ($244) a metric ton by midday in Johannesburg. The 14-day relative strength index, which measures how rapidly prices rose or declined in the specified period, has been above the 70 threshold since June 26, the level some investors consider a signal that prices are about to drop.
The nation delivered 426,189 tons of white corn in the week to June 26, the most since the season started at the end of April, South African Grain Information Service data showed Wednesday. Still, they are 38 percent lower than the same week a year earlier as the worst drought since 1992 damaged crops in the main growing provinces of the Free State and North West, which together made up 64 percent of the 2014 harvest. The country started imports for the first time in 11 months in March.
“Deliveries of white maize for last week that came out yesterday and were quite high, so the market is less concerned,” Brink van Wyk trader at BVG (Pty) Ltd., said in an e-mailed response to questions Thursday.
Farmers have delivered almost 3 million tons of white corn since the season started on April 25, 33 percent less than the same period in 2014. Local farmers could reap 9.755 million tons in 2015, the smallest quantity since 2007, the country’s Crop Estimates Committee said this week.
South Africa imported 63 tons of white corn from Zambia last week, taking the total bought from its neighbor this season to 163 tons, Sagis data showed. It has imported 79,850 tons of the yellow variety from Argentina since April.
Local prices of white corn, which is used to make a staple food known as pap, have risen 40 percent this year after declining 24 percent 12 months earlier. The price of the yellow variety, used mainly as animal feed, has risen 26 percent in 2015.