US maize holds its ground

By Joanna Newman

UNLIKE the volatility in US wheat and soya bean prices following the Thanksgiving holiday, the maize market has managed to hold its ground.

The Chicago December maize futures contract closed on Thursday (3 December) at 215.5¢/bushel, virtually unchanged over the past week.

US farmers are gradually bringing their crops to market and this is helping prevent any rally in prices.

Producers can afford to time their sales due to the Governments Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) subsidies to farmers which have given them a breathing space with their cashflow. However, there may be some urgency to shift maize piled outdoors before the warm weather in the cornbelt damages stores.

Given the massive domestic oversupply of maize, producers are pinning their hopes on exports. But the latest figures were disappointing, showing that in the week ended November 26, November the US sold 25.3 million bushels of maize for export, down 41% from the four-week average and a fall of 49% from the week before.

Meanwhile, more competition could be on the way for US maize exports. If Brazil is pushed to devalue its currency due to domestic economic problems this would make its grain exports even more competitive on the international market.

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