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Argentine corn crop may shrink further due to drought -exchange

BUENOS AIRES, July 12 (Reuters) - The estimate for Argentina's drought-hit corn crop may be cut further from the 32 million tonnes currently expected to be harvested this season, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said in its weekly crop report on Thursday.

The country's normally fertile Pampas grains belt was scorched by a four-month drought that gave way to torrential rains in April, which further complicated harvesting. About 70 percent of the 2017/18 crop has been harvested, the report said.

"Yields remain below the initial expectations," the report said. "Production of later-planted corn in Cordoba province was hurt by lack of ground moisture. If this trend continues, final corn output for the season is likely to be negatively impacted."

The national average yield stands at 6.3 tonnes per hectare. Area losses are estimated at 192,000 hectares, the report said.

The exchange's 2017/18 crop estimate of 32 million tonnes would mark a decrease of the 7 million tonnes versus 2016/17.

The Rosario grains exchange also expects a 2017/18 Argentine corn crop of 32 million tonnes. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein Editing by James Dalgleish)

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