The agribusiness knowledge provider

April 24, 2012


South Africa's 2011-12 corn stocks hit lowest level



Since the start of May 2011-April 2012 marketing season, South Africa's corn stocks fell to their lowest level, renewing fears of a low carry-over into the new season starting next month.


The stocks fell to 1.309 million tonnes at the end of March from a revised 1.868 million tonnes at the end of February, South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS) data showed on Monday.


They included 809,000 tonnes of white corn and 500,000 tonnes of yellow, SAGIS said in its monthly bulletin.


"Stocks are still quite tight but we have been buffered by the early deliveries (to silos) and the imports that are coming in now," Piet Faure, a soft commodities analyst at CJS Securities, said.


South Africa harvested 10.36 million tonnes of corn in the 2010-11 season. With a national consumption of between 8-9 million tonnes, the rest of the corn is destined for export. But the country committed too much of its corn for exports and is now importing from Zambia, Romania and Ukraine to make up for deficits.


The SAGIS data showed that total exports reached 2.497 million tonnes at the end of March. This compares with a total of 2.194 million tonnes for the previous marketing season. The strong demand had helped local corn prices to scale to record highs earlier this year but they have since retreated.


The most active July white corn contract ended down 2.80% at ZAR2,076.20 (US$265) a tonne on Monday, while yellow corn for delivery in the same month was down 2.26% to ZAR2,025.20 (US$258) a tonne.


The government is due to release its latest output forecast of this season's summer crops output at 1330 GMT on Tuesday. Traders expect South Africa to further cut its corn output forecast for the 2011-12 season as a late-season drought weighs on yields, a Reuters survey showed.

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