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World Soybean Harvest Forecast Cut by IGC on South America Crops

Global production of soybeans will be smaller than estimated a month ago after prospects deteriorated for harvests in Brazil and Argentina, the International Grains Council said.

Farmers worldwide will harvest 284 million metric tons of soybeans in the 2013-14 season, the London-based IGC said in an e-mailed report today, 1.4 percent less than a January estimate of 288 million tons. Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter, will produce 88 million tons, 2.5 percent less than previously forecast while still the highest on record, Darren Cooper, a senior economist at the IGC, said by telephone today. Argentina’s crop at 53.5 million tons will be 1.8 percent less than the prior estimate, he said.

“There’s been some quite adverse weather in some parts of Brazil in the last week or so,” Cooper said. “In the key producing state of Mato Grosso, it’s been raining extremely heavily, and that’s been delaying harvest operations and raising concerns about crop losses.”

Soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, rose as much as 3.5 percent today to $14.455 a bushel, the highest since June 6. The oilseed has increased 10 percent this year on concern about South American supplies.

The IGC’s projection for Brazil is below the 90 million tons estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and by Conab, the South American country’s official forecaster. Hamburg-based researcher Oil World cut its forecast this week to 85 million tons for Brazil. World soybean production this season will still be larger than output of 271 million tons in the prior 2012-13 marketing year, the IGC said. Last year output in the U.S. was hurt by drought.

China’s Imports

World inventories of soybeans will be 27 million tons by the end of the 2013-14 season, below last month’s estimate and compared with 26 million tons the prior year, the IGC said. China’s imports will be 68.5 million tons, 15 percent higher than a year earlier, Cooper said.

“At the end of the season, things will be fairly tight, even if record crops are achieved in Argentina and Brazil,” Cooper said. “That’s why there’s so much bullishness at the moment in soybeans.”

Corn production in the 2013-14 season will be 959 million tons, unchanged from last month’s estimate and up from 861 million tons a year earlier, the IGC said. The group cut its forecast for inventories at the end of the season to 154 million tons from an earlier estimate of 158 million tons.

World production of wheat will be 708 million tons, up 0.1 percent from last month’s forecast, according to the report. In the 2014-15 season, production will fall to 696 million tons, because of “a return to more normal yields from the previous season’s exceptional results,” the IGC said.

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