By Helmo Preuss

South African grains closed the last session of 2012 lower due to weaker Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT) prices and rains in the eastern maize belt of the country.

“Corn prices in the US were lower‚ which pulled our market down. In addition we have seen good rains in the eastern part of the country‚ which has helped growing conditions‚” a local trader said.

The white maize contract for March 2013 delivery shed R8.80 to R2‚133.20 per ton‚ while the white maize contract for July 2013 lost R20.20 to R1‚984.80 per ton.

The yellow maize contract for March 2013 delivery by contrast rose R4 to close at R2‚239 per ton‚ while the July 2013 yellow maize contract dipped R22 to R2055 per ton.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that US money managers cut bullish bets in CBoT corn futures and options in the week ended Tuesday‚ CFTC data show.

Managed funds‚ including hedge funds‚ had a net long position of 140‚109 contracts in CBoT corn‚ down 20% on the week. The drop came as corn slipped to fresh five-month lows‚ pressured by technical selling and a slow pace of exports.