By Joanna Newman

US maize prices remain unchanged this week, with little interest in the market.

The Chicago December futures contract settled on Tuesday, 27 October at 219.0¢/bushel.

All eyes are on the export market, as the USA needs to ship more maize to offset its high production and inventories. On the positive side, Russia finally made a formal request for food aid and American farmers are hoping that their Government will deliver maize to Russia.

However, there are indications that China has re-entered the global market as an exporter and this adds to competitive pressures on US maize. There are reports that China has 2 million tonnes on offer and has already sold 500,000 tonnes to Asian customers.

Meanwhile the domestic harvest continues apace, with 72% of the crop gathered. This compares with 63% at this time in 1997 and a five-year seasonal average of 53%. Good weather forecasts suggest that the crop will be harvested without a glitch and this will add to the oversupply in the American corn belt.

  • Click here for current Chicago corn (maize) prices