Brazil lifts corn, soy crop forecasts - a little
By - Published 09/01/2013

Brazil raised its official estimate for its grain harvest, but not by much, helping Chicago corn and soybean futures recover some of their losses.

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.

Weather factor

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 development".

The initial market reaction was to cut losses in Chicago corn futures by some 2 cents a bushel to $6.86 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 a bushel.

Data spree 

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.

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