By Joanna Newman
US maize prices have stagnated at low levels over the past week depressed by weakness in the soya bean market.
Favourable weather conditions for South American farmers and rain in Argentina have further depressed prices, while forecasts of more rain to come will not help any recovery.
The devaluation of the Brazilian Real earlier this month and rumours of a Chinese currency devaluation have raised fears that US grain exports will become less competitive on the global stage.
The latest weekly export inspection data was disappointing, with only 29.4 million bushels inspected in the week ended 21 January, below expectations.
While export shipments are under threat, domestic demand also looks unpromising.
The latest monthly Cattle on Feed report shows a 5% drop from last year in the number of cattle in the nations feedlots.
The Chicago March futures contract settled on Tuesday (26 January), at 215.75¢/bushel, almost unchanged from one and two weeks ago.
Given the unattractive maize market, farmers prefer to take advantage of subsidised loans under a federal programme and wait for a turnaround before they bring their crop to market