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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa raised its maize output forecast for this year by 4 percent on Tuesday, putting the country on track for its biggest harvest in more than three decades.
South Africa, the continent's biggest maize producer, will likely harvest 13.548 million tonnes of maize this year, up from a previous estimate of 13.029 million tonnes, the government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) said.
The maize crop will consist of an estimated 7.528 million tonnes of white maize and 6.020 million tonnes of yellow, the committee said.
The estimate was higher than market expectations of 13.27 million tonnes, according to a Reuters poll. [ID:nL6N0OC1ZC]
The CEC said in March that a harvest of about 13 million tonnes or above will be the largest since 1981, when the maize crop was 14.4 million tonnes.
Maize is the staple crop in South Africa and a bigger crop will be a relief for the country after stocks from last year were depleted by large export commitments.
Maize prices hit record highs of more than 3,300 rand ($320) a tonne earlier this year but have since retreated on the expected large crop, which should ease inflation pressures in Africa's most advanced economy.
The most traded July white maize contract ended 0.11 percent lower at 1,893 rand a tonnes on Tuesday.
$1 = 10.3574 South African Rand