Corn stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s top grower and exporter, will be 20 percent larger before the next harvest than projected last month, the government said. Analysts were expecting a bigger increase.
Inventories on Aug. 31 will be 757 million bushels (19.24 million metric tons), compared with 632 million forecast in March and 989 million a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Analysts were expecting 836 million. Global inventories were also projected to rise. Futures plunged 24 percent through yesterday since reaching a record in August as the world supply outlook improved and high prices slowed demand.
Smaller-than-expected gains in inventories may increase costs for hog processor Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) and ethanol producers such as Poet LLC and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) About 41 percent of last year’s crop was processed into fuel, topping the share used in animal feed for a second straight year.
“It’s a smaller increase than people expected and should improve the interest from commercial buyers to increase purchases,” Jim Gerlach, the president of A/C Trading Co. in Fowler, Indiana, said before the report. “All the attention now shifts to weather forecasts and the pace of U.S. corn planting.”
Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.1 percent to $6.4475 a bushel at 7:39 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices reached a record $8.49 on Aug. 10 as the worst drought in more than 70 years threatened production, eventually cutting the harvest 13 percent to the lowest since 2006.
Exports will total 800 million bushels in the year ending Aug. 31, down from 825 million forecast last month and the lowest since 1972, the USDA said. Last year, 1.543 billion bushels were shipped overseas. Sales in the current marketing year through March 28 were 54 percent behind a year earlier, USDA data shows.
An estimated 4.55 billion bushels will be used to produce ethanol and an animal-feed byproduct, up from the March forecast of 4.5 billion and down from 5.011 billion in the previous year, the USDA said. Feed demand will total 4.4 billion bushels, down from 4.55 billion projected a month ago and less than 4.545 billion a year earlier, the agency said.
Cash prices farmers receive in the current marketing year will average $6.90 a bushel, compared with $7.10 estimated a month ago and a record $6.22 last year.
Aggregate world output for the marketing years that began Sept. 1 in the U.S. and March 1 in Brazil will be 855.92 million tons, up from 854.07 million forecast a month ago and down from 882.5 million last year, the USDA said.
Brazil’s estimated crop was raised to 74 million from 72.5 million forecast in March and a record 73 million last year. Argentina’s harvest was forecast at 26.5 million, unchanged from a month ago while up from 21 million tons last season.
Global consumption is expected to fall to 862.51 million tons from 878.81 million last year and 867.75 million forecast in March.
Worldwide inventories will be 125.29 million tons, up from 117.48 million predicted a month ago, while down from 131.88 million a year earlier, the USDA said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected 120.41 million, on average.
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