South Africa Imports Most Yellow Corn in at Least 11 Years

  • Nation buys Paraguaian yellow corn for first time since 2004
  • Little to no rain is seen for main corn growing regions: yr.no

South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of corn, imported the most of the yellow variety in at least 11 years last week and bought from Paraguay for the first time as a drought curbs local production.

The nation imported 93,188 metric tons of yellow corn in the week through to Nov. 27 comprising 68,059 tons from Brazil and 25,129 tons from Paraguay, the Pretoria-based South African Grain Information Service said in e-mailed statement Tuesday. That’s the biggest influx of its kind of the variety used mainly as animal feed locally since at least 2004, when Sagis records on its website start.

South Africa has become a net importer of corn this season for the first time since the campaign ended April 30, 2008, as an El Nino weather pattern has caused worst drought since 1992 and curbed output. The nation will probably need to import 900,000 tons of yellow corn in the year to April 2016, the Grain & Oilseeds Supply & Demand Estimates Committee said. That compares with the 750,000 tons estimated by Grain SA, the biggest corn-farming lobby in the country.

“It’s not an easy season, it’s a typical weather market,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader in Kroonstad, South Africa, said by phone on Tuesday. “Given the late start to the planting season, supplies of early deliveries are limited, so imports are going to be needed at this time, especially given the rain uncertainty we have now.”

There is little to no rain predicted in towns of the Free State and North West provinces today, according to the yr. no weather website, a joint service between Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. that also looks at South African data. The two regions accounted for 64 percent of the nation’s corn harvest in 2014, according to Crop Estimates Committee.

Yellow corn for delivery in March climbed as much as 0.9 percent to 3,353 rand ($232) on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg Tuesday, the highest on record.

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