S. African Sunflower Rise to 7-Week High, Plantings Fall

South African sunflower futures gained to the highest in more than seven weeks after the estimate for the preliminary area planted with the oilseed was smaller than intentions to plant.

Sunflowers for delivery in May, the most active contract, rose 1.4 percent to 5,045 rand ($563) a metric ton, the highest since Dec. 7, on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The Crop Estimates Committee said the preliminary area for sunflower plantings will be 485,000 hectares (196,273 acres). That’s 7.6 percent less than the 525,000 hectares the committee said Oct. 25 the country’s farmers intended to plant.

“The main reason we see prices high for sunflowers is due to the shockingly low hectares intended for plantings,” Brink van Wyk, a trader at BVG (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Pretoria. “Conditions in the north of the country were dry after the planting of maize, so some farmers might have given up on the planting of sunflowers.”

“The market is starting to come to terms with the fact that production might not be that good due to low plantings,” Van Wyk said.

White corn for delivery in March rose 0.7 percent to 2,182.20 rand a ton, while the yellow variety for delivery in July, increased 0.6 percent to 2,092 rand a ton.

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