Spot maize higher on firm demand

Maize prices rose sharply across key spot markets due to robust demand from bulk buyers, such as poultry-feed and starch manufacturers. A gradual decline in arrivals also supported prices. Bulk buyers are aggressively picking up stocks as they anticipate a further rise in prices in the coming days.

Prices rose despite the government allowing import of 500,000 tn non-genetically modified maize as market participants do not expect the shipments to arrive before September, which will keep domestic supply tight till then.

Maize prices are seen rising further over the coming days as bulk buyers anticipate a sharp decline in supplies over the coming weeks due to a likely small crop in 2018-19 (Jul-Jun). Poultry feed and starch manufacturers, the key industrial buyers of maize, have pegged the crop at 18-20 mln tn this year, compared with 28.75 mln tn produced last year.

Maize futures on National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange, however, fell as traders booked profits after the contracts rose sharply during the last few sessions. The most-active July contract ended at 2,180 rupees per 100 kg, down 0.6% from the previous close.

Corn futures saw 9 to 11 1/4 cent gains in most contracts, with July expiring and Sep closing 3.53% higher on the week. Traders shrugged off larger USDA numbers from Thursday, as weather forecasts are starting to heat up for the rest of July. A private export sale of 104,100 MT of corn for 19/20 delivery to Panama was reported by USDA this morning.

Friday’s Commitment of Traders report indicated money managers adding 5,520 contracts to their net long position in the week that ended on July 9 to 187,168 contracts. Thursday’s balance sheet update from USDA showed the projected 19/20 US cash average price at $3.70, down a dime from the June report.

USDA also cut 100 mbu to the old crop export projection to 2.1 bbu. Buenos Aires Grain Exchange pegs Argentina’s corn harvest at 53.1% complete, compared to the 5-year average of 64.2%.