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South American Farmers to Boost Soybean Output Amid U.S.-China Trade War

By Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton

GUANGZHOU, China, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Farmers across South America are expected to produce more soybeans in 2018/19, an industry analyst said on Wednesday, as they take advantage of a trade war that has curbed U.S. exports to the world's top buyer China.

Producers in Brazil are investing more resources to increase the planted area in 2018/19 to a record 36.2 million hectares, Andre Debastiani, partner at Brazil Agroconsult told an industry conference in Guangzhou.

Farmers will target production of 120 million tonnes, up from 119 million the year before, while Brazil's soybean exports were estimated at 80.1 million tonnes in 2018/19, up from 78.5 million tonnes a year ago, he said.

"A good harvest in the southern hemisphere should guarantee the supply of soybeans to China," he said.

Beijing imposed 25 percent tariffs on a list of U.S. products including soybeans and grains on July 6, in response to similar measures levied on Chinese goods. This has curbed U.S. soybean exports to China.

Brazil's soy industry group Abiove last week raised its projection for the country's soybean exports this year to 79 million tonnes from 77 million tonnes seen in October.

The group also revised its estimate for the Brazilian 2017/18 crop to 120.5 million tonnes, from 119.5 million tonnes previously.

In Argentina, Debastiani said soybean production was likely to rebound to 54 million tonnes in 2018/19, up from a drought-hit crop of 35 million tonnes a year ago.

The country was forecast to export 8.1 million tonnes of soybeans in 2018/19, up from 2.3 million tonnes the year before.

He estimated Paraguay would plant soybean on 3.5 million hectares for output of 9.8 million tonnes in 2018/19.

World soybean production is expected to climb to an all-time high of 367.5 million tonnes in 2018/19, breaking a year ago record of 338.57 million tonnes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; editing by Richard Pullin)

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