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Argentina corn, soy in good condition after rain - analysts


BUENOS AIRES - Rains in Argentina's main grains belt last week favor the country's 2016-17 soybean and corn crops, which are reaching a key stage of development in ideal weather conditions, local meteorologists said on Monday.

After floods in some areas and drought in others caused crop losses throughout January, the weather has stabilized, leaving expectations for an ample harvest intact.

"If you could harvest the crops today, which you cannot because they're not mature yet, the yield would be very good," said Stella Carballo at the government's Climate and Water Institute. "The rains and the temperatures have boosted yields, which could be record highs for corn and soy."

Argentina is the world's third-largest exporter of corn and soybeans, and the top exporter of soybean meal and soybean oil. Forecasts for a strong harvest in Argentina and neighboring Brazil have pressured soy futures on the Chicago Board of Trade.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said last week that 2016-17 soy production could surpass the 54.8 million tonnes currently expected if favorable climate conditions persist.

Over the weekend, some areas in the south of the country's main grains belt that had been dry received abundant rains, while more central regions received lighter rains that were also helpful, said Germán Heinzenknecht, a meteorologist at Consultora de Climatologia Aplicada.

Rains will continue to be above normal levels throughout this week, according to the Thomson Reuters Agriculture Weather Dashboard, which will help keep rural aquifer levels high amid a hot Southern Hemisphere summer.