Bloomberg News

South African White Corn Advances to Record: Johannesburg Mover

July 16, 2012

South Africa’s most active white- corn futures climbed by the limit to the highest on record as drought curbs crops in the U.S., driving the global price to a more than 10-month high.

White corn for December delivery advanced 80 rand, or 3.1 percent, to 2,700 rand ($326) a metric ton by the noon close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg. The yellow variety for delivery in the same month rose 3.1 percent to 2,641 rand a ton, the highest for a most active contract on a closing basis since Jan. 26.

Corn climbed to $7.715 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its outlook for production of the grain by 12 percent, a month after predicting a record harvest. The U.S. is the world’s biggest exporter.

“The drought in the U.S. is affecting local prices,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a trader at Trademar Futures Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “Guys are starting to compare this to the drought of 1988.”

About 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good or excellent condition as of July 8, down from 48 percent a week earlier and the lowest for this time of year since a drought in 1988, the USDA said July 9.

More than 1,000 counties in 26 states are being named natural-disaster areas, the biggest such declaration ever by the USDA, as drought grips the Midwest, making farmers eligible for low-interest loans to help them cope.

South Africa is the continent’s biggest corn producer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ana Monteiro in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at

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