S. African Corn Falls to 7-Month Low on Prospect of Bigger Crops

South African corn futures fell to the lowest in more than seven months on speculation that rains that fell during the planting season were sufficient to boost output this season.

White corn for delivery in March, the most active contract, fell 0.8 percent to 2,100 rand ($234) a metric ton, the lowest since June. 7, by the close in Johannesburg. The yellow variety for July delivery dropped 0.7 percent to 2,040.20 rand a ton.

“With all the rain we have received so far, there are expectations that there will be a lot of maize,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a trader at Trademar Futures (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg.

Total corn output is expected to be 12.7 million tons in the 12 months started May 1, compared to a 12.5 million tons last year, the U.S Department of Agriculture said in a report dated Jan. 28.

No rain has been predicted for today, tomorrow and Feb. 3 in Bothaville in the Free State province, where 40 percent of the country’s corn, also called maize, is produced. Rain is expected from Feb. 4 to Feb. 7, the South African Weather Service said on its website today.

South African farmers probably planted 2.78 million hectares (6.9 million acres) of corn, or 3 percent more than the previous season, the Crop Estimates Committee said Jan. 24. The generic contract for white corn slumped 11 percent in December, the worst month in four, as good rains boosted plantings.

The nation is the continent’s largest producer of corn. White corn is a staple food and the yellow variety is used as animal feed.

Wheat for delivery in March slipped 0.1 percent to 3,659 rand a ton.

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