US maize prices stay down despite low stocks

By Joanna Levin

LAST weeks national grain stocks report showed lower than expected stocks of maize, although this news failed to stimulate prices.

Stores of old-crop maize totalled 1.31 billion bushels on 1 September, up 48% from 1997 and triple the figure of two years ago, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

However, prices still slid during the second half of last week before recovering slightly in the past couple of days. The two big influences have been the financial markets and the weather. Volatility in the Dow is causing tremors in the US maize market and any further turmoil in overseas economies would directly effect US maize exports.

In the past few days, maize futures prices have shrugged off concerns about the financial markets and climbed on news of delays to the harvest caused by excessive rain in much of the corn belt. This is a sensitive time of year for rain in the mid-west. So far, 22% of the crop has been harvested and 69% is rated good to excellent.

After the slight fall last week and this weeks recovery, the Chicago December futures contract settled on Tuesday 6 October at 210.25¢/bushel, almost unchanged from a week ago.

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