Brazil forecasts record soybean, corn harvests

Brazil on Thursday raised its forecast for cereal and oilseeds harvests this year, anticipating bumper corn and soybean crops.

The Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE) said production could reach a record 187.9 million metric tons, up 16.1 percent over last year.

Brazil is the world's second soybean producer but could soon vault into first place, past the United States, where crops have been hit by drought.

This year, Brazil's soybean output is expected to soar to 81.3 million metric tons, up 23.7 percent over 2012 when the harvest was affected by poor weather conditions.

The previous soybean record in Brazil was 74.9 million tons in 2011.

Corn output is predicted to increase 12.2 percent to a new record of 80 million tons, while rice production is expected to grow 2.9 percent to 11.7 million tons.

Areas under cereal and oilseeds cultivation rose 8.2 percent to cover 52.8 million hectares (130 million acres) this year.