* Cuts forecast on corn surplus to 4.41 mln T from 5.11 mln
* But numbers do not include grain in vast state reserves
* Govt has been pushing to curb acreage, boost consumption
BEIJING, Feb 9 Beijing on Thursday curbed its
forecast on China's 2016/17 corn surplus due to
better-than-expected domestic demand and lower imports, as it
embarks on a strategy to erode its vast stockpile, curb acreage
and boost consumption.
In its monthly crop report, the Ministry of Agriculture said
it expected surplus supply for the 2016/17 season that ends in
September to total 4.41 million tonnes, down from last month's
prediction of 5.11 million tonnes. That would be way below 33.73
million tonnes in 2015/16.
The data does not include state reserves, which are
estimated to be around 200 million tonnes, equivalent to one
year's worth of demand.
Corn futures held their gains after the report and ahead of
a more influential monthly crop report from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, due later on Thursday.
The most active May contract on the Dalian Commodity
Exchange was up 0.94 percent at 1,615 yuan ($235.15)
per tonne at 0342 GMT.
The ministry said its lower forecast was driven by a
200,000-tonne cut in China's import estimate, with local grain
prices becoming more competitive with international markets.
It raised its consumption estimate by 500,000 tonnes, inline
with an influential think tank on Wednesday, which cited higher
livestock feed demand.
The government said the stronger consumption forecast was
due to better-than-expected operating rates at corn processors
in the northeast corn belt.
For soybeans, it cut its estimate for the size of the
domestic deficit slightly to 2.19 million tonnes from 2.16
million last month as it forecast higher output.
($1 = 6.8680 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Joseph