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USDA raises estimates for 2017-18 US, global ending corn stocks

The US Department of Agriculture on Friday raised its estimate for USending corn stocks at the end of the 2017-18 marketing year to 2.447 billionbushels (62.919 million mt), up 40 million bushels from its Decemberprojection of 2.437 billion bushels.

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This would be 184 million bushels above its estimate for the 2016-2017marketing year. Each marketing year starts September 1. The rise in US corn ending stocks was because USDA increased itsestimates of corn yield to a record 176.6 bushels/acre, which partially offsetthe reduction in harvested area estimated.

Although the US ending stock estimates were within the range of marketexpectations, it was above the average of analyst estimates, a marketparticipant said.

USDA did not change its estimates of US corn to be used for ethanolproduction, still seen at 5.525 million bushels, and for US corn exports,expected to remain at 1.925 billion bushels (48.898 million mt).

The updated estimate foresees 38.18% of the current season's crop goingtoward production of ethanol and byproducts, while 13.3% would be exported.

The department increased its projection for global ending corn stocks atthe end of the 2017-18 marketing year to 206.57 million mt, up 2.49 million mtfrom its December projection. This would be 22.18 million mt below itsestimate for the 2016-2017 marketing year.

"Foreign corn ending stocks are higher than last month, mostly reflectingincreases for Brazil and Pakistan," the USDA said.

Despite the rise on ending stocks estimates, USDA is projecting a 5-centrise in its midpoint season average price for the 2017-2018 marketing year to$3.25/bushel, "based on observed prices to date," the agency said.

Corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol production in the US and is themain competitor for dried distillers grains.

--Sergio Alvarado, sergio.alvarado@spglobal.com--Edited by Annie Siebert, ann.siebert@spglobal.com