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US corn stocks to soar 43% to 10-year high - USDA

US soybean stocks are to near-double to their highest in eight years, with corn inventories seen hitting their highest in a decade, officials said in their first full crop estimates for next season.

Soybean inventories in the US, which spars with Brazil as the top grower of the oilseed, will end 2014-15 at 285m bushels, as even record exports of 1.6bn bushels, up 6.0% year on year, prove unable to erode supplies lifted by a harvest seen hitting a record high.

"The US share of global trade is likely to remain at the current level due largely to stiffer competition from South America, where exportable supplies are likely to reach record levels," the US Department of Agriculture said, revealing its first full formal estimates for next season.

The US soybean harvest will rise 7.9% to 3.55bn bushels this year, lifted by a record yield of 45.2 bushels per acre, besides the increase in sowings outlined on Thursday.

'Renewed competition'

For corn, inventories will end 2014-15 at 2.11bn bushels (53.6m tonnes), up 43% on stocks expected at the end of the current seasons and a level beaten only once, narrowly, in the last 20 years.

The forecast reflects expectations for a harvest of 13.985bn bushels, narrowly setting the record, as a bumper yield offsets the dent from lower plantings, but also a drop in exports in the face of enhanced competition.

"The US will face renewed competition early in the season from Ukrainian new-crop 2014-15 corn and from Brazilian second-crop 2013-14 corn," the USDA told its annual Outlook conference in Virginia.

"Argentina is expected to return as a major competitor unless government actions and foreign exchange concerns interfere significantly with trade."

Argentine farmers have been hoarding grain, which is dollar denominated on world markets, as a hedge against a falling peso.

Wheat outlook

For wheat, the USDA forecast a modest increase in domestic stocks at the close of 2014-15, by 5.2% to 587m bushels, reflecting ideas of a small rise in production against a backdrop of declining US feed use, and falling exports.

The rise in harvest expectations, despite lower seedings, reflects ideas of more crop making it to harvest than last year, when wheat was damaged by "persistent drought and spring freezes" in the southern and central Plains.

A fall to 1.05bn bushels in US exports reflects a forecast of "strong" competition from other major wheat shippers.

"Supplies in most major exporting countries are expected to be on par with 2013-14," with those in Canada seen entering 2014-15 at a 20-year high thanks to last year's record harvest.

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