September 29, 2017 / 4:03 PM / 9 months ago

U.S. corn, soy ending stocks up sharply but below market forecasts

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and corn stockpiles ballooned in the marketing year ended Sept. 1 as the massive supply base outstripped robust demand, the U.S. government said on Friday.

In its quarterly stocks report, the U.S. Agriculture Department reported that domestic corn ending stocks rose 32 percent from a year earlier to their highest level since 1988. Soybean ending stocks, which were 53 percent higher than Sept. 1, 2016, came in at a 10-year high.

Usage of corn and soybeans during June, July and August was the second highest ever for the period, coming in just below record levels set during the summer of 2016. USDA said corn disappearance totaled 2.93 billion bushels and soybean disappearance totaled 665 million bushels.

Wheat stocks as of Sept. 1 dropped to 2.253 billion bushels from 2.545 billion bushels as U.S. production dropped off amid rising global competition.

The corn and soybean stocks estimates came in below the low end of market forecasts in a Reuters survey. Analysts estimates ranged from 2.310 billion bushels to 2.450 billion bushels for corn stocks and from 321 million bushels to 363 million bushels for soybean stocks.

The lower-than-expected soybean stocks figure stemmed in part from a downward revision in USDA’s estimate of the 2016 soy harvest. USDA lowered its assessment of the crop by 10.6 million bushels, to 4.296 billion. USDA also trimmed the national soybean yield by 0.1 bushels per acre to 52.0 bushels per acre and cut harvested acres by 40,000.

Analysts, on average, had expected the soy crop would be 4.305 billion bushels.

Estimates for wheat stocks ranged from 2.083 billion bushels to 2.495 billion bushels, with an average of 2.205 billion bushels.

USDA also pegged the 2017/18 wheat crop at 1.741 billion bushels, which would be the smallest in 15 years. But the wheat harvest forecast came in within the range of analysts’ estimates but above the average, which was 1.718 billion bushels.

Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Paul Simao

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