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USDA GAIN: Oilseeds, Cotton, Sugar, Grain and Feed


02 November 2012

USDA GAIN: South Africa Grain and Feed Update November 2012USDA GAIN: South Africa Grain and Feed Update November 2012

Post forecasts a five percent increase in South Africa’s corn area for the 2012/13 MY to 3.3 million hectares on higher domestic corn prices, which should yield a crop of about 12.7 million tons. This will place South Africa in a position to export approximately 2.4 million tons of corn, 30 percent or 600,000 tons more than the current marketing year’s expected exports of 1.8 million tons.
USDA GAIN Report - Oilseeds, Cotton, Sugar, Grain and Feed

Production

White corn and yellow corn prices fell back slightly from their record levels in July, after good early summer rains were received in most of the corn producing areas of South Africa (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). The CEC also increased its final corn crop estimate in September for the 2011/12 MY by almost three percent or 300,000 tons, based on physical deliveries, which put downward pressure on prices. However, on a year-on-year basis, white corn and yellow corn prices are, respectively, 10 percent and 14 percent higher as global corn stock are still tight due to the impact of the United States drought. As farmers usually reacts positively on higher prices, post forecast a five percent increase in corn area for the 2012/13 MY (2013/14 MY for South Africa). Post forecasts that commercial farmers will plant about 2.8 million hectares of corn and subsistence farmers 500,000 hectares. This will, based on a national average yields, result in a crop of about 12.7 million tons, five percent more than the 2011/12 MY’s crop.

This forecast is in line with the “intention to plant survey” that was published by the CEC on October 25, 2012. According to the CEC commercial farmers indicated that they will plant 2.7 million hectares of corn for the 2012/13 MY. The intention by commercial farmers is to plant 1.6 million hectares of white corn and 1.1 million hectares of yellow corn.

The Trend in the SAFEX Price for White Corn Since January 2011

The Trend in the SAFEX Price for Yellow Corn Since January 2011

The final estimate for the area planted and production of corn by commercial farmers for the 2011/12 MY (the 2012/13 MY in South Africa which runs from May 2012 to April 2013) was released by the CEC on September 26, 2012. According to the CEC, commercial farmers planted 2.7 million hectares of corn. This is 13 percent more than the corn hectares planted in the 2010/11 MY. The CEC estimates that subsistence farmers planted about 442,114 hectares of corn, marginally less than the previous season. Commercial farmers planted 1.6 million hectares with white corn, 15 percent more than the previous season, and 1.1 million hectares with yellow corn, 11 percent more than the previous season. Corn plantings were up in response to higher domestic corn prices during planting time compared to the previous season.

The CEC’s final estimate for the 2011/12 MY’s commercial corn crop was 11.5 million tons. This is 11 percent more than the previous year’s crop of 10.4 million tons due to increased corn plantings. White corn production was estimated at 6.5 million tons, seven percent more than the previous season, while yellow corn production was estimated at 5.0 million tons, 16 percent more than the previous season. Furthermore, the CEC estimates that subsistence farmers produced 638,463 tons of corn for the 2011/12 MY, which brings South Africa’s final estimated corn crop for the 2011/12 MY at 12.1 million tons, 11 percent more than in the 2010/11 MY.

Consumption

Post forecasts that the commercial demand for corn for human consumption and animal feed in the 2012/13 MY and 2011/12 MY will stay constant at 4.6 million tons and 4.4 million tons, respectively, due to prospects of slower economic growth and higher corn prices. This means total annual commercial corn demand is expected to stay at the same levels as in the 2010/11 MY, e.g. 9.6 million tons.

Trade

With an estimated commercial corn crop of 12.1 million tons, post forecasts that South Africa will be able to export about 2.4 million tons of corn in the 2012/13 MY.

South Africa already exported 920,153 tons of corn in the first six months of the 2011/12 MY of which 832,416 tons were white corn and 87,737 tons yellow corn. Mexico continues to be a major market for South African white corn and 649,433 tons (70 percent of total exports) of corn has been exported to Mexico (see also Table 3). The rest of the corn was exported to South Africa’s neighboring countries e.g. Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia. Post estimate that South Africa will export about 1.8 million tons of corn in the 2011/12 MY. This is 300,000 tons more than post’s July estimate and is based on an increase in the final corn crop estimate, the current rate of exports and a decline in projected corn exports by the United States that is creating new export market opportunities for other corn producing countries.

For the 2010/11 MY, South Africa exported 2.4 million tons of corn which included 1.7 million tons of white corn and 711,816 tons of yellow corn. Almost half of the exports went to Mexico. South Africa also imported 288,304 tons of yellow corn from Romania and Ukraine, which was mostly used at the coastal regions of the country. A small amount of white corn (133,771 tons) was imported from Zambia and milled in the far northern parts of South Africa where there is especially a strong demand for corn meal from neighboring Zimbabwe. Total corn imports reached 422,075 tons in the 2010/11 MY.

Prices

SAFEX prices as of October 19, 2012, are shown in Table 4. White corn and yellow corn prices fell back slightly from their record levels in July by eight percent and seven percent, respectively, after good early summer rains were received in most of the corn producing areas of South Africa. However, on a year-on-year basis, white corn and yellow corn prices is respectively ten percent and 14 percent higher as global corn stock are still tight due to the impact of the United States drought.

November 2012

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