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UPDATE 1-Argentina sees 2022/23 wheat harvest shrinking 39% on droughts, frosts

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BUENOS AIRES, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Argentina's wheat production for the 2022/2023 season is estimated at 13.4 million tonnes, down 39.4% from 22.1 million tonnes harvested in the previous season, the South American country's economy ministry said on Thursday.

Argentina is a key global wheat supplier, but the 2022/23 cereal season has been hit by a drought in some areas dating back to May as well as a series of late frosts recorded in the first half of the southern hemisphere spring.

At the beginning of the month, Argentina authorized agro-export companies to reschedule grain sales for up to 360 days due to fears it would not be possible to supply both foreign and domestic demand amid a lack of grains.

Producers have already started the wheat harvest, which will begin to intensify in the coming weeks and is set to end in January.

Meanwhile, the government increased its soybean planting forecast to 16.5 million hectares, from the 16.3 million hectares projected in its October report.

"Planting accelerated in several areas after the rainfall recorded in recent weeks, while in the regions less benefited by the rains, we expect moisture in the planting beds to improve, in order to progress with planting," the ministry said. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath and Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Sarah Morland)

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