Informa Economics halted the downward slide in estimates for
Argentina's soybean crop by standing by its estimate, while raising its
forecasts for Brazil's harvest of both the oilseed and corn.
The much-watched analysis group, in a monthly update, kept
at 51m tonnes its forecast for the soybean harvest in Argentina, the third-ranked
While lower than the 53.0m tonnes at which the US Department
of Agriculture estimates the crop, the forecast is above those from the likes
of Lanworth, which last week cut its forecast to 49.6m tonnes.
On Thursday, the Buenos Aires grains exchange downgraded its
estimate to 48.5m tonnes, cautioning that dryness between late December and
mid-February had caused irreversible damage to crops in some areas, causing
plants to shed early-formed pods.
The Rosario grains exchange estimates the crop at 48.0m tonnes.
'Generally in a good condition'
However, separately on Friday, Argentina's farm ministry also offered support to hopes for the domestic soybean crop, saying that recent rains had indeed wrought improvements.
In northern parts of in Buenos Aires province, the major grain-growing area, "soy crops are generally in a good condition since the rains arrived," the ministry said in a weekly crop progress report, although acknowledging weaker crops further south.
The ministry has yet to give official forecasts for soybean, or corn, production.
Informa left its estimate for the Argentine corn crop
unchanged at 25m tonnes, in line with forecasts from Lanworth and the Buenos
Aires grains exchange, if 2m tonnes below the USDA figure.
However, it raised forecasts for crops in Brazil, where
rains have revived hopes for southern crops, and yields from the early soybean
harvest in more northern areas proved broadly reassuring.
The group raised its estimate for the Brazilian soybean crop
by 500,000 tonnes to 84.5m tonnes, 1.0m tonnes ahead of the USDA figure, although
2.5m tonnes more generous than Lanworth.
Informa pegged Brazil's corn harvest at 71.6m tonnes, a gain
of 1.3m tonnes, but below USDA and Lanworth figures.