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Argentine Corn Harvest Estimate Cut by Exchange Amid Drought

March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s corn crop estimate was cut by the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange after a drought parched crops last year.

The world’s second largest exporter of the grain will probably harvest 20.8 million metric tons, down from a previous forecast of 21.3 million tons, the exchange said today in its weekly e-mailed report. The new estimate came after the inspection of damaged crops in the Pampas agricultural zone.

Droughts from Mexico to Argentina are shrinking corn stockpiles to a five-year low, raising the prospect of a bull market before U.S. farmers start reaping the biggest crop ever.

Rainy weather in February will extend into the rest of March, stemming the damage caused to corn and soybean crops, the exchange said. The estimate for this year’s soybean harvest was maintained by the exchange at 46.2 million tons.

Argentina is the world’s second-largest corn exporter after the U.S. and the third-largest soybean exporter behind the U.S. and Brazil.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Craze in Santiago at mcraze@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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