I am a bit concerned that the picture painted by the figures released by the Crop Estimates Committee on March 26 could change somewhat in the coming days, particularly with regard to maize and sunflower seeds production estimates. Drier weather conditions in the western parts of SA have led to the deterioration of crop conditions, reflected in the production estimates data. This concern was shared by other market participants in varying degrees, as the Reuters analysts’ consensus forecast showed a possible slight downward revision of SA’s 2018/2019 maize harvest from 10.51-million tonnes in February to 10.5-million tonnes in March. However, the official estimates presented a 0.5% uptick to 10.6-million tonnes in maize production estimate. For context, this is still a lot lower than the 12.5-million tonnes in 2017/2018 production season due to a decline in area planted, and expectations of poor yields in some areas. The small upward revision in the latest production forecasts is a w...

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