Oversupply looms in US maize market

By Joanna Levin

LIKE wheat and soyabeans, the maize market was depressed further this week better weather, which let farmers get their maize in the ground early, and raised forecasts for this years yield. Already 98% of the maize crop is planted, compared with a five-year average for this point in the season of 88%.

Demand projections are unlikely to climb to meet the supply. The Asian crisis appears to be deteriorating, so there is little hope of rally in US maize consumption in that region. As several analysts point out, the Japanese yen has depreciated against the US dollar by 13% since February, which means that US maize is still expensive in local currency terms.

Seven-year lows in the wheat market also contributed to negative sentiment in maize this week. The Chicago July futures contract lost 11/2¢ over last week to close on 5 June at $2.37/bushel, then slipped another 41/2¢ on Monday to $2.321/2.

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