Wires

UPDATE 1-Brazil seen planting largest corn area in history on firm prices, demand

Roberto Samora

demand@ (Includes analyst comment) SAO PAULO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Brazilian farmers are expected to plant more than 18 million hectares of corn in the 2019/20 season, a 3.5% rise from the previous cycle and the largest area on record, according to a Reuters poll. Despite weather risks stemming from late planting of Brazil's second corn crop, total output may reach 101 million tonnes in the season, according to the average of 12 analysts' estimates. If the average projection is confirmed, Brazil's corn output will be almost 1% above the government's estimate for the previous season, and the highest in history, according to poll data. Sowing of Brazil's second corn crop, which is cultivated after soybeans are harvested, will extend well into March in some areas because of delays in the soybean harvest. Yet according to analysts, good corn prices will encourage farmers to expand acreage despite potential weather issues affecting the second corn crop, which represents about 75% of Brazil's entire output. "If it rains in February and March and the price is high, as it should be, the producer will plant more corn," said analyst Paulo Molinari at Safras & Mercado. In high demand in export markets, domestic demand for Brazilian corn has been strong as meat-packers and biofuel producers step up purchases. 1/8nL1N2890F3/ After an export binge this year, Brazil's corn inventories will be tight or potentially insufficient to meet local demand early in 2020.

SOURCE CORN OUTPUT AREA

2019/2020

MLN TONNES MLN HAAgroconsult 102.40 18.00Arc Mercosul 96.30 18.10Céleres 103.90 18.11Cerealpar 100.00 -Cogo 103.40 17.90Conab 98.36 17.53Datagro 103.30 18.20Rabobank 99.00 18.40Refinitiv 100.10 18.10Safras & Mercado 103.40T&F Consultoria 101.07USDA 101.00AVERAGE 101.02 18.10highest estimate 103.90 18.40lowest estimate 96.30 17.53Conab 2018/19 100.05 17.49% change vs govt's estimate +0.97% 3.49%

(Reporting by Roberto Samora Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)