The harvest activity is gaining momentum in the irrigation areas around the country. This is reflected in the volumes of maize delivered to commercial silos in the week ending 18 May 2018, which amounted to 144 563 tonnes, up by 14 percent from the previous week. About 56 percent of this was yellow maize, with 44 percent being white maize. The total maize deliveries for the first three weeks of the 2018/19 marketing year are estimated at 305 167 tonnes. More maize will be delivered in the coming weeks.
The harvest activity is still at initial stages in the dryland areas but could gain momentum within the next two weeks as the weather forecast shows a possibility of drier conditions over the South African maize-belt. To reiterate a point made in yesterday’s note, our conversations with farmers suggest that the crop yields in most regions could vary between average and above average, which supports the National Crop Estimates Committee’s view of a good harvest of 12.8 million tonnes. The Committee will release an update of the production estimate on Tuesday next week, 29 May 2018.
On the data front, tomorrow we have SAGIS monthly figures, which will present an update on stock levels, as well as monthly maize consumption data. South Africa’s maize ending stock was recorded at 4.6 million tonnes in March 2018, treble the volume seen in the same period last year. April 2018 data could show a slight decline due to solid domestic consumption. The recent uptick in deliveries will mainly be reflected on May 2018 data, as it started to peak in the past two weeks or so.
Overall, the theme remains unchanged, despite the above-mentioned monthly developments. South Africa could have large maize supplies in the 2018/19 marketing year, estimated at 16.4 million tonnes. This is well above annual consumption of 10.7 million tonnes. All things considered, the SAFEX maize prices could remain at relatively lower levels for some time.
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