US maize market waits for export news

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.

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