Brazil raised its official estimate for its grain harvest, but
not by much, helping Chicago corn and soybean futures recover some of their
Conab, the official crop bureau, lifted by 210,000 tonnes to
180.41m tonnes its forecast for the Brazilian grains harvest in 2012-13.
The figure included an estimate of 82.7m tonnes for the
soybean harvest, up only a fraction from last month's 82.6m-tonne forecast.
On corn, Conab raised its harvest estimate by 250,000 tonnes
to 72.2m tonnes.
The small upgrades contrast with a significant improvement in
market sentiment towards Brazil's harvest prospects, seen as being boosted by
favourable weather, in contrast with the dryness suffered in many southern
areas last year.
However, Conab, which made a small upgrade to its estimate for grain sowings, highlighted that "the normalisation of rains
and good climatic conditions are fundamental to the maintenance of crop
The initial market reaction was to cut losses in Chicago
corn futures by some 2 cents a bushel to $6.86 ¼ a bushel at 11:40 UK time (05:40
Chicago time), for the March contract.
Soybean futures rebounded to positive territory, standing
0.1% higher at $13.87 ½ a bushel.
The Conab data kick of a wave of agricultural commodity
statistics, with Thursday bringing Chinese trade data for December and an
update on Malaysian palm oil inventories.
Friday sees the US Department of Agriculture unveil its own
world crop supply and demand estimates, along with US inventory and winter
wheat seeding statistics.
The USDA currently foresees the Brazilian soybean crop at
81.0m tonnes, and the corn harvest at 70.0m tonnes.
However, its attaché in Brasilia last week raised to 83m
tonnes his forecast for soybean production.