Supreme Flour

Maize prices tumble in March

Good rains and prospects for a bumper crop have seen the July white maize contract fall more than 4% on 1 March to a 2½-year low of R1,817 a ton after the government crop estimates committee forecast a 2017 harvest of 13.918 million tons, 79% more than in 2016. That forecast was 6% higher than expectations of 13.11 million tons. Domestic consumption is between 10 million and 11 million tons.

Cold weather, rains and resilient genetically modified crops have also limited the damage caused by an armyworm outbreak. The difference with 2016 is stark when the main white maize contract scaled record peaks above R5,000 as an El Nino-triggered drought-parched lands. Prices are now around a third of that.

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