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NOPA February U.S. soy crush seen at 158.730 mln bushels -survey

By Karl Plume CHICAGO, March 12 (Reuters) - Profitable U.S. soy crush margins and ample supplies of beans encouraged soy processors to continue their recent active crush pace in February, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly National Oilseed Processors Association report. NOPA members likely crushed 158.730 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to an average of estimates given by 10 analysts in a Reuters survey. If realized, it would be the largest February crush on record, eclipsing the previous February record, set last year, by 3.3 percent. But the crush would be down 7.5 percent from January, when crushers processed 171.630 million bushels. Crush forecasts for February ranged from 154.700 million to 164.271 million bushels, with a median of 158.120 million. The monthly NOPA report will be released at 11 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT) on Friday. NOPA, the largest U.S. trade organization for soy crushers and whose members handle about 95 percent of all soybeans processed in the United States, releases crush data on the 15th of each month or the next business day. Soyoil supplies among NOPA members at the end of February were projected at 1.612 billion pounds, up 4.0 percent from 1.549 billion pounds at the end of January but down 13.2 percent from 1.856 billion pounds at the end of February 2018. If realized, it would be the third straight month of higher stocks after seven consecutive months of shrinking supplies. Soyoil stocks estimates ranged from 1.499 billion to 1.680 billion lbs, with a median estimate of 1.660 billion. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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