By Joanna Newman
AS expected, maize prices have eased off over the past week as recent news of a near-record crop of 9.8 billion bushels is absorbed by the weary market.
Not even this months strength in soya bean prices has managed to push maize prices higher. Although 94% of the harvest is completed farmers are slow to sell their crop given the unattractive market and this is creating an overhang of supply. Wet weather could have damaged outdoor maize piles but not enough to make a difference to prices.
Attention is now turning to South America to see how the southern hemisphere grain planting progresses. With the domestic crop gathered, US maize prices are now driven by news of rainfall, or the lack of, in Brazil and Argentina.
In the face of oversupply at home, US maize producers are further worried by reports that China could be exporting more maize, thereby damaging US prospects on world markets. On the positive side, US interest rate cuts should weaken the dollar which should make American maize more competitive.
The Chicago December futures contract closed on Tuesday (17 November) at 219.0¢/bushel, down from 225.25¢ just under a week ago.