By Madeleine van Niekerk

Grains ended firmer on Thursday on a weaker rand and higher Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) prices.

“We closed firmer‚ but off our highs due to producer selling‚” said Andrew Fletcher‚ independent grains trader.

“It has been quite a volatile time with increased plantings in the US and news that the US will export maize to China. Ethanol demand in the US was up on Wednesday‚ and it lifted the whole US market and we opened firmer on that. But we struggled to hold above the $2‚200 per ton level today‚ due to the producer selling‚” he said.

The white maize contract for July added R34 to R2‚192 per ton‚ white maize for September gained R39 to R2‚230 per ton and December white maize ended R33.20 firmer at R2‚270.20 per ton.

Yellow maize for July delivery lifted R22 to R2‚168 per ton‚ September maize ended R26 firmer at R2‚205 per ton and December yellow maize was up R34 at R2‚250 per ton.

The wheat contract for July closed R38 higher at R3‚558 per ton‚ September wheat added R27 to R3‚520 per ton and December wheat ended R20 firmer at R3‚360 per ton.

In the US‚ corn futures settled higher on Wednesday amid concerns that strong demand could shrink already tight domestic supplies‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Chicago Board of Trade corn for July delivery‚ the most actively traded contract‚ rose 18 1/2c‚ or 2.9%‚ to $6.58 1/2 a bushel. The December contract climbed 10 1/4c‚ or 2%‚ to $5.30 1/2.

US wheat futures settled mixed‚ with concerns about winter wheat crop production potential providing price support. July wheat futures ended up 8c‚ or 1.2%‚ at $6.88 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat rose 4 3/4c‚ or 0.6%‚ to $7.43 1/4 a bushel. MGEX July wheat finished down 5 3/4c‚ or 0.7%‚ at $8.07 3/4 a bushel.