Market Perspectives July 19, 2013

Country News

Russia: Russia’s grain harvest may be lower than what was previously forecast, reports WPI. The government had previously anticipated the overall harvest at a record breaking 95 MMT; however, drought in some grain producing regions has caused projections to be cut back. Forecasts are now calling for 90-94 MMT, which would still be a substantial improvement over last year’s harvest of 71 MMT.

South Africa: Corn futures have fallen for a second day due to weather predictions calling for precipitation, according to Bloomberg News. White corn for December delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $240/MT, while yellow corn for September delivery gained 0.3 percent to close at $223.91/MT.

Additionally, WPI reports that there is concern in South Africa that continued yellow corn exports may cause a shortage and force the use of white corn (slated for human consumption) as a feed grain. South Africa recently shipped 78,000 MT of yellow corn to Japan, which has given rise to these concerns.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Three new varieties of corn designed to thrive in low nitrogen soils have been announced for use in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to WPI. Farmers in the region generally apply only 9 kg of fertilizer per hectare, which is exceptionally low when compared to Latin America, for example, where average fertilizer use per acre is in the neighborhood of 73 kg. The corn will be priced similarly to the current seed types available in the region. However, large-scale introduction may be delayed as many farmers plant a part of the previous year’s crop as opposed to purchasing seed commercially.

Syria: Continued violence and political unrest has taken an increasingly negative toll on Syrian agricultural production, reports Bloomberg News. A reduced area was planted with cereals this year because of high production costs, a dearth of labor, continued violence that has damaged farm equipment, land abandonment and deteriorating utilities and infrastructure. Total grain production (including barley and corn) is expected to total 3.48 MMT, which is an 8 percent decrease from last year. Syria’s grain imports may increase by 5 percent over last year as close to four million people face food insecurity