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EU Corn Crop Estimate Cut by Coceral on Italy’s Harvest Plunge

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union corn harvest is forecast to drop 16 percent this year, with production lower than expected in September after Italy’s crop fell on drought and a heat wave, according to grain-industry lobby Coceral.

The corn crop for the 27 nations in the EU is estimated to fall to 54.7 million metric tons from 64.8 million tons last year, according to an e-mailed report from Brussels-based Coceral. The outlook was cut from 56 million tons previously.

Italy was the EU’s third-largest corn grower last year behind France and Romania, based on data from the International Grains Council. The country was also the EU’s third-largest importer of the grain. Its corn imports fell to 1.43 million tons in the first nine months of 2012 from 1.97 million tons in the year-earlier period, industry group Associazione Nazionale Cerealisti reported this week.

Farmers in Italy harvested an estimated 7.59 million tons of corn, down from 9.22 million tons in 2011, Coceral estimates. That compares with the group’s September forecast for a crop of 8.54 million tons.

Romania’s corn crop fell less than expected, dropping to 5.41 million tons from 10.4 million tons, compared with a previous outlook for production of 5.23 million tons.

France’s harvest of the grain probably declined to 15.4 million tons from 15.9 million tons, similar to Coceral’s estimate four months ago. The outlook for Hungary’s output was maintained at 4.68 tons, while Spain’s crop was seen at 4.3 million tons, the industry group said.

In Germany, corn production probably fell to 5.14 million tons from 5.23 million tons, based on Coceral’s estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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