WASHINGTON (B)--U.S. Department of Agriculture Dec. 10 lowered its 1999-2000 forecast for U.S. wheat exports by 25 million bushels mainly "due to increased competition." In its monthly supply and demand report, USDA lowered its forecast for 1999-2000 U.S. wheat exports to 1.075 billion down from a November prediction of 1.1 billion bushels.

As a result, USDA also raised projected 1999-2000 ending stocks by 25 million bushels to 1.027 billion bushels, up from 1.002 billion bushels.

The forecast for U.S. wheat production remained stable at 2.308 billion bushels, but USDA's global wheat production forecast was lowered "marginally from last month," according to the report.

"Increases for Canada and Argentina (wheat production) are more than offset by reductions for Russia and Pakistan," USDA said.

The 1999-2000 wheat crop forecast for Russia was lowered to 30.5 million tonnes from a November prediction of 32 million. The USDA estimate for Pakistan fell to 17.85 million tonnes from 18.2 million.

USDA, however, raised its Argentina wheat production forecast to 14.5 million tonnes, up from 14 million tonnes.

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