UPDATE 1-Brazil suspends soy, corn import duties until year-end, ministry says

(Adds details, background)

By Nayara Figueiredo

SAO PAULO, April 19 (Reuters) - Brazil has suspended import duties on soy, corn, soybean meal and soybean oil until the end of the year, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday, as the country seeks to slow inflation fanned by rising global commodities prices.

The Chamber of Foreign Commerce (Camex) had already authorized the suspension of the import tax on corn until March 31 of this year and soybean until January 15. The latest measure is likely to benefit U.S. grains producers, experts say, as Brazilian buyers had earlier focused on Mercosur producers who are already exempt from tariffs.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that when the previous exemption was announced, the expectation was that external prices would stabilize and that the 2020/21 grain harvest would have sufficient production to rebalance supply and demand.

"However, international prices had an upward trend, putting even more pressure on domestic prices," the ministry said. "Domestic prices continued to rise due to the strong external demand and the continued devaluation of the real against the dollar."

The industry is increasingly focused on outlooks for Brazil's second corn crop, the larger of the two annual harvests, which has not yet begun.

Earlier this month, the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) urged the Agriculture Ministry to support its request for exemption from the import tariff for corn and for the creation of mechanisms that provide more predictability to the market, Reuters reported.

Its aim was to help the meat industry to source animal feed in the event of a problem with Brazil's second corn crop. (Reporting by Roberto Samora; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates)

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