UPDATE 1-Argentina's 2019/20 soybean harvest forecast at 53.1 mln tonnes -grains exchange

(Adds details from grains exchange report)

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Argentina’s soybean harvest for the 2019/20 season is forecast at 53.1 million tonnes, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday, an improvement from a prediction it made towards the end of last year.

The forecast is above the 51 million tonnes estimated in October, but below the previous season’s harvest of 55.1 million tonnes. Argentina is a major soy exporter and the world’s top seller of the processed beans as soy oil and meal.

Favorable soil moisture levels in main planting areas was behind the increased forecast, the exchange said in a report. Argentina’s soybean planting for the season was completed earlier this month.

“Currently, much of the area is going through critical stages for the generation of yield, with adequate and optimal water conditions,” the exchange said, pointing to decent rainfall during the month of January.

Farmers last week finished planting 17.4 million hectares dedicated to the oilseed, it added.

The exchange said that around 97% of corn planting was also complete with the forecast area unchanged at 6.3 million hectares. It said conditions for the crop also remained good. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Grant McCool)