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GRAINS-Soy, corn futures hit June highs after U.S. cuts harvest estimates

(Adds USDA data, latest prices; changes byline/dateline, pvs PARIS/MANILA)

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures surged to their highest price since June on Monday after the U.S. government made bigger-than-expected cuts to its estimates for the domestic harvest.

Corn futures also hit their highest price in more than two months on a reduced production outlook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The agency, in a monthly report, pegged the U.S. soy harvest at 4.378 billion bushels, with average yields seen at 50.5 bushels per acre. Analysts, on average, had been expecting production of 4.496 billion bushels and a yield of 51.5 bushels per acre, according to a Reuters poll.

In August, the USDA estimated the harvest at 4.531 billion bushels and the yield at 51.9 bushels per acre.

"The soybeans surprised the trade," said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based broker U.S. Commodities.

The most-active soybean contract climbed 73-1/4 cents to $14.85-1/2 a bushel by 12:58 p.m. CDT (1758 GMT) and touched its highest price since June 30 at $14.90-1/4.

The most-active corn contract was up 10 cents at $6.95 a bushel and touched its highest price since June 27. Wheat futures, meanwhile, headed lower, with the most-active contract down 10-3/4 cents at $8.58-3/4 a bushel.

U.S. farmers will likely harvest a corn crop of 13.944 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 172.5 bushels per acre, the USDA said. Analysts had been expecting a crop of 14.088 billion bushels, based on a yield of 172.5 bushels per acre.

The report cut the USDA's outlook for U.S. corn ending stocks in 2022/23 to a 10-year-low of 1.219 billion bushels, from 1.388 billion. Soybean supplies were seen at a seven-year low, of 200 million bushels.

"I think a lot of people, going into harvest, now think there is a strong incentive to store their grain because they think there's going to be a bullish rally going into next year," said Bob Utterback, president of Utterback Marketing. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago. Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris, Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila, and Karl Plume and PJ Huffstutter in Chicago; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Uttaresh.V, Ed Osmond and Andrea Ricci)

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