South African Corn Drops After Committee Raises Output Forecast

Corn in South Africa fell the most in two weeks after the Crop Estimates Committee said the nation will produce more of the grain than previously expected.

South Africa raised its prediction for corn output this season by about 1 percent, with farmers forecast to reap 11.5 million metric tons of the grain in the year through April. That compared with the 11.34 million-ton median estimate of seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey and the 11.4 million-ton estimate the committee made last month.

White corn for December delivery, the most active contract, fell 0.9 percent to 2,380 rand ($228) a ton, the biggest decline since Aug. 14, by the midday close in Johannesburg. The yellow variety for delivery the same month dropped 1.2 percent to 2,224 rand a ton.

“Today’s move has mostly got to do with the fact that the announcement by the Crop Estimates Committee was not in line with what was expected,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a trader from Trademar Futures (Pty) Ltd., said by phone in Johannesburg.

The nation may also produce more of the yellow variety of corn than the white for the first time since 1995 as a lack of rain in some growing areas curbs output of the white kind. The nation’s farmers will probably produce 5.93 million tons of yellow corn in the year through April and 5.58 million tons of white, the Pretoria-based estimates committee said in a statement on its website yesterday.

South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of corn. Meal made from white corn is used as one of the nation’s staple foods, while the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed.

Wheat for December delivery lost 0.1 percent to 3,431 rand a ton.

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