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By Mark Weinraub
WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department left its domestic supply estimates for corn, soybeans and wheat unchanged on Friday, holding usage forecasts for all three commodities steady with its November outlook.
On the global front, the government raised its ending stocks outlook for corn, soybeans and wheat due to increased production outlooks in countries such as Brazil and Australia.
“They’re just punting until next month,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. “There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Why make a big change until you see the quarterly stocks report?”
In its monthly supply and demand report, USDA said that U.S corn ending stocks for the 2016/17 marketing year will come in at 2.403 billion bushels, 10 million bushels below the average of estimates given in a Reuters survey of analysts.
U.S. soybean ending stocks of 480 million bushels were 10 million bushels higher than the average of trade forecasts. U.S. wheat ending stocks were pegged at 1.143 billion bushels, 4 million bushels above market expectations.
Chicago Board of Trade soybean <0#S:> corn <0#C:> and wheat <0#W:> hovered closed to unchanged after the report was released.
The export outlook for both corn and soybeans was left unchanged despite the recent fast pace of shipments, as strong competition from South American countries was expected in 2017.
“In recent years, early-season U.S. corn export commitments have not been a robust indicator of final exports,” USDA said.
It said world ending stocks of corn would be 222.25 million tonnes, up from its November outlook of 218.19 million tonnes. Analysts, on average, had been expecting world corn ending stocks at 219.24 million tonnes.
The government bumped its estimates of Brazil corn production to 86.50 million tonnes from 83.50 million tonnes.
For wheat, USDA raised its world ending stocks outlook to 252.14 million tonnes from 249.23 million tonnes. It also raised its estimate of the Australian wheat harvest to 33 million tonnes from 28.30 million tonnes. Analysts had expected wheat ending stocks of 250.33 million tonnes.
World ending stocks of soybeans were pegged at 82.85 million tonnes, up from 81.53 million tonnes in November and bigger than the 81.31 million tonnes forecast by analysts. Global soybean production was raised to 338.00 million tonnes from 336.09 million tonnes.
USDA lowered its domestic soyoil end stocks view to 1.552 billion lbs from 1.658 billion lbs to reflect increased usage by the biodiesel sector.
Additional reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Paul Simao and Dan Grebler