By Joanna Newman

US maize prices drifted over the past week now that the excitement of the harvest is over.

The Chicago December futures contract settled on Wednesday 25 November at 216.75¢/bushel, unchanged from the previous day but down from 219.0¢/bushel a week ago. Activity has slowed down ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, which will close the futures market today (Thursday) and bring a half-day tomorrow.

The mild weather is lowering domestic demand for maize to feed to livestock and the warm 10-day weather forecast suggests this trend will continue. With the US harvest now 94% complete, producers are watching South America, where better weather conditions for the southern hemisphere planting season are pressuring the US market.

On the export side, signals are mixed. The market reacted positively to news last week that South Korea will receive credits from the US Department of Agriculture to purchase US farm products.

However this was offset by concerns over China offering maize for export in competition with US shipments. Actual US exports are running at strong levels for now, with the latest weekly figure showing that 1.5 million tonnes of maize left Americas shores, 52% above the four-week average figure.

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