Brazil’s corn output at 4-year low on ‘most challenging crop': Conab

Brazil will produce 85.7 million mt of corn in 2020/21, 16.4% lower on the year as weather disruptions slashed second crop...

Brazil will produce 85.7 million mt of corn in 2020/21, 16.4% lower on the year as weather disruptions slashed second crop safrinha yields by 27%, the final old crop estimates from the country’s food agency Conab showed Thursday.

Conab’s new corn estimates are 900,000 mt below those released one month ago, mainly due to the impacts of frosts on the crop, and represent the lowest output since 2017/18.

“This was the most challenging crop of the last thirty years with late rains in the beginning of planting works, rains during harvests, droughts, plagues and frosts” Conab’s president Guilherme Ribeiro said when presenting the results.

The agency has also reduced marginally its domestic consumption estimates to 70.9 million mt during the marketing year due to lower availability.

Corn import estimates were set at 2.3 million mt in 2021, unchanged since its last estimate, although forecasts from certain market analysts are set much higher at about 4 million mt.

On the other hand, Conab cut its 2021 export estimates by 1.5 million mt to 22 million mt, 36.9% below 2020’s level.

“Lower exports will be the outcome of less corn available coupled with high domestic prices, incentivising sales to the domestic market,” Conab said.

As a result of lower exports more than offsetting the month-on-month output downgrade, ending stocks estimates lifted 13.7% to 5.8 million mt, which is still 45.3% lower on the year.

Meanwhile, 2020/21 soybean production was just marginally reduced, set at an all-time record of 135.9 million mt.

The output level is 8.9% higher on the year, underpinned by increased acreage and improved yields.

“Acreage increased fuelled by high international bean prices and a depreciated domestic currency,” Conab said.

“Weather issues, especially during harvests, affected the quality of part of the crop, but not enough to compromise crop yields that lifted 4.4% on the year,” the agency added.

Conab kept its demand estimates flat on the month at 50 million mt, with crushed volumes slightly lower on the year.

Export volumes in 2021 were slightly upgraded from the estimates released in August to 83.6 million mt, 1.6 million mt higher on the year.

“Exports might be lower if volumes do not pick up in the last four months of the year,” Conab warned.

The agency estimates ending stocks at 7.2 million mt.

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