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UPDATE 1-U.S. sugar production forecast to hit record in 2017-18 -USDA

(Adds details, milestone, link) NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast domestic sugar production to hit a record in the current 2017-18 crop year as beet supplies swell, reducing the need for imports from top international supplier Mexico. The USDA slightly increased the closely-watched stocks-to-use ratio to 14.3 from last month's 14.1, but it was down from 14.8 in the previous marketing year. The agency also projected U.S. beet and cane production to swell to 9.25 million tons (8.39 million tonnes) in the season that began Oct. 1. That was up from a previous outlook of 8.83 million tons and the 8.97 million tons produced in 2016-17. At that level, it would surpass 2015-16's record level, according to USDA records dating from 1959-60. Beet production accounted for the increase, with the agency hiking its forecast for those supplies to 5.36 million tons from a previous outlook of 4.95 million tons. Imports from Mexico will total 1.27 million tons this year, down from last month's projection of 1.69 million tons but up from 2016-17's 1.2 million tons.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice, editing by G Crosse)