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The maize market - South Africa

The weather remains an important factor in the US maize market, as it could still influence the harvest process, as well as the crop quality/conditions. The forecast for the next two weeks shows the prospects of rainfall over the eastern parts of the Midwest, while other areas set to experience cool and drier weather conditions. Therefore, the potential delays in the harvest process will not be widespread but concentrated on a few patches.

As a result, next week’s harvest pace assessment could show a bit of an uptick from levels observed in the week of 14 October 2018, where 39 percent of the US maize crop had already been harvested. This is good progress, about 12 percent ahead of the corresponding period last year.

The crop conditions assessment could show similar results as the week of 14 October 2018, where 68 percent of the US maize crop was rated good or excellent. This was about 3 percentage points better than the corresponding period last year.

 We place more emphasis on the US because of its importance in global maize supplies. The US 2018/19 maize production is estimated at 375 million tonnes, up by a percentage point from the previous week. This accounts for 35 percent of expected 2018/19 global maize production.

The weather is a key focus also in the domestic maize market as the 2018/19 planting season has recently started. The past couple of days brought widespread rainfall in the eastern and central parts of South Africa, which bodes well for the new season crop. The outlook for the next eight days promises additional showers over the eastern parts of the country which will lead to further improvement. The elephant in the room, however, is the forecast El Niño, which might negatively affect crop conditions later in the season. AGBIZ


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