WASHINGTON Feb 9 U.S. wheat supplies were seen
shrinking below market estimates as the export outlook
brightened despite ample global stocks and a firm dollar that
had been seen as a brake on overseas demand, the U.S.
Agriculture Department said on Thursday.
Domestic corn stocks also were seen falling below the
government's previous outlook as ethanol makers ramped up
production, USDA said in its monthly supply and demand report.
U.S. wheat ending stocks for the 2016/17 marketing year were
pegged at 1.139 billion bushels, down from the January estimate
of 1.186 billion bushels and below market forecasts that ranged
from 1.145 billion to 1.211 billion bushels.
Domestic corn ending stocks were lowered to 2.320 billion
bushels from 2.355 billion.
The USDA left its outlook for 2016/17 domestic soybean
ending stocks unchanged at 420 million bushels. It also held its
forecast for U.S. soy exports steady at 2.050 billion bushels
despite a fast pace of shipments through January.
"Competition from expected record South American exports
will limit U.S. shipments to well below last year's record level
this summer," USDA said in the report.
The government left its estimate of soybean production in
Brazil unchanged at 104.00 million tonnes, close to market
forecasts. It cut its forecast for the Argentine soybean harvest
to 55.50 million tonnes, down from 57.00 million tonnes a month
Analysts, on average, had expected the report to show
Argentine soybean production at 54.54 million tonnes and
Brazilian soybean production at 104.08 million tonnes, according
to a Reuters survey.
On the global front, USDA's estimate of world wheat ending
stocks was cut to 248.61 million tonnes from 253.29 million
tonnes. USDA cited a cut to harvest expectations in India and
Kazakhstan as the reason for the drop.
World corn ending stocks were lowered to 217.56 million
tonnes from 220.98 million tonnes, with usage by China, the top
consumer of the yellow grain, raised to 231.00 million tonnes
from 227.00 million tonnes.
World soybean ending stocks were lowered to 80.38 million
tonnes from 82.32 million tonnes, mostly due to the reduced
forecast for the Argentine harvest.
(Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Paul Simao)