Brazil's soybean-crop forecast is lowered
As Brazilian growers reduced planting after oilseed
prices dropped, Brazil, the world's second-largest soybean producer, cut its
forecast for the crop.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, the harvest will reach 54.7 million
tonnes in the current crop year. This compares with a November estimate of 55.2
million tonnes and a previous crop of 53.4 million tonnes a year earlier.
Gains by the real and declining international-soybean prices since
early 2004 have cut export profits. Since May 2004, Brazil's real has climbed
49%, reducing the local-currency value of dollar receipts. Benchmark US soybean
futures fell 37% from a 15-year high in March 2004.
Planting in the current crop year fell to 20.7 million hectares (51.2
million acres) from 22.2 million hectares in the previous year.
According to the government, corn growers will harvest 43.6 million
tonnes, up from 43.5 million tonnes estimated in November and 41.7 million
tonnes a year earlier.
The ministry's forecasting agency, known as Conab, cut the forecast for
total grain and oilseed output to 120.2 million tonnes, from 121.3 million
tonnes estimated last month. Growers harvested 119.9 million tonnes a year
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