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NOPA December U.S. soy crush seen at 170.016 mln bushels -survey

By Karl Plume CHICAGO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean crushings in December were likely the largest on record for that month as soy plants continued their recent strong crushing pace, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) report. NOPA members, who handle about 95 percent of all soybeans processed in the United States, likely crushed 170.016 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to an average of estimates given by 10 analysts in a Reuters survey. If realized, the processing volume would be the third-largest monthly crush on record and the most robust December crush ever, topping the 166.305 million bushels crushed in the same month a year ago. It would also be up 1.8 percent from November's crush of 166.959 million bushels. Soy crush forecasts for December ranged from 167.815 million to 172.100 million bushels, with a median of 169.900 million bushels. Processors have an ample supply of soybeans available to crush following a record-large 4.6 billion-bushel soybean crop last autumn, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimate. Last week's monthly update of the USDA's supply and demand projections was delayed due to a partial government shutdown. The monthly NOPA report will be released at 11 a.m. CST (1700 GMT) on Tuesday. NOPA, the largest U.S. trade organization for soy crushers, releases crush data on the 15th of each month or the next business day. Soyoil supplies among NOPA members at the end of December were projected at 1.571 billion pounds, up from 1.484 billion pounds at the end of November and 1.518 billion pounds at the end of December 2017. If realized, the 5.9 percent month-on-month increase would represent the first soybean oil stocks rise in eight months. Soyoil stocks estimates ranged from 1.491 billion to 1.690 billion lbs, with a median estimate of 1.550 billion. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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