Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

Yesterday (29 May 2018), the National Crop Estimates Committee lifted its estimate for South Africa’s 2017/2018 commercial maize production by a percentage point from the previous month (April) to 12.9 million tons, in line with Bloomberg consensus estimate. The upward revision was mainly on white maize, which lifted to 6.7 million tons from 6.6 million tons. The yellow maize production estimate was revised up marginally and is currently at 6.2 million tons. This was underpinned by expectations of higher yields.

The non-commercial or smallholder maize production estimate was left unchanged from last month, at 593 975 tons (down by 18% from last season).

Overall, South Africa’s 2017/2018 total maize production is estimated at 13.5 million tons (commercial and non-commercial). While this is well above market expectations, it is well below last season’s record harvest of 17.6 million tons.

This data reinforced the view that South Africa’s maize market will be well supplied in the 2018/2019 marketing year. In other words, the expected harvest, combined with a large opening stock at the beginning of this marketing year could amount 16.4 million tons, well above the local maize demand of 10.7 million tons.

Against this backdrop, South Africa’s 2018/2019 marketing year maize exports could, at least, amount to 2.3 million tons, down by 4% from the volume exported in 2017/2018.

Last week (ending 25 May 2018), the country exported 75 392 tons of maize. This placed South Africa’s 2018/2019 maize exports at 127 774 tons, which equates to 6% of the seasonal export forecast of 2.3 million tons.  – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz, shares highlights in his update on agricultural commodity markets. Click here for the full report on agri markets for the major commodities.

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