Adds analyst quote and USDA adjustment to previous Brazilian soybean crop in paragraphs 4-5
CHICAGO, Dec 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its forecast for Brazil’s next soybean harvest on Friday after poor weather hit key growing areas, but still expects a record crop.
Grain traders are monitoring Brazil’s crop as it is the world’s largest soy supplier and inventories are tight in the United States, a rival producer.
The USDA pegged Brazilian production at 161 million metric tons in a monthly report, down from its November estimate of 163 million. Analysts on average expected an estimate of 160.16 million metric tons, according to a Reuters survey.
Central and northern regions of the country have grappled with high temperatures, while southern areas faced excessive rains. However, the outlook still tops Brazil’s previous record crop in 2022/23 that was harvested earlier this year, which the USDA raised to 160 million metric tons from 158 million.
“The Brazilian crop is not that badly hurt as of yet,” said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist for Zaner Ag Hedge. “If the weather becomes more normal, like the weather forecasts are suggesting, then maybe it’s not a catastrophe.”
Brazilian crop agency Conab reduced its soybean production forecast to 160.177 million metric tons from 162.420 million tons in November. Conab estimated Brazil’s corn crop at 118.528 million metric tons, down from its previous forecast for 119.066 million.
The USDA pegged the corn crop at 129 million, unchanged from its November estimate. Analysts had expected the USDA to lower its forecast to 127 million.
(Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago. Additional reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by David Evans, Kirsten Donovan)