South African White Corn Declines Most in 14 Months on Imports

  • Nation has imported 30% of requirement forecast through April
  • Mexican white-corn imports last week were most this season

South African white-corn futures fell the most in more than 14 months as imports of the grain eased concern about insufficient supply as a drought hurts local production, BVG (Pty) said.

White corn for December delivery dropped 3.5 percent, the most since July 2, 2015, to 4,110 rand ($287) a metric ton on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg. Yellow corn for delivery in the same month declined 1 percent to 3,243 rand a ton.

The country received 74,418 tons of white corn from Mexico in week ended Sept. 9, the most for any week since the season started in May, Pretoria-based South African Grain Information Service said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. Total imports of white corn so far are 332,676 tons. That’s 30 percent of the 1.1 million tons that Grain SA, the biggest lobby group for the nation’s corn farmers, forecasts the country will have to bring in for the year through April.

South Africa last year had the least rainfall since records started in 1904, damaging crops and raising prices. The nation, the biggest producer of corn on the continent, this year became a net importer of the grain for the first time since 2008. Outside of southern Africa, only Mexico is a major producer of white corn, and it doesn’t have a lot to export, according to Oxfam.

“The rand is not weakening further so far and lots of white imports are coming in, alleviating the shortage," Brink van Wyk, a trader at BVG, said in an e-mailed response to questions. The currency gained 0.6 percent to 14.3105 against the dollar in Johannesburg. A weaker rand raises the cost of imports.

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