WASHINGTON (B)--The U.S. Department of Agriculture Feb. 8 raised its forecast for China's 2000-01 corn exports 2 million tonnes to 6 million despite an unchanged production forecast of 105 million tonnes.

In its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA said that China's corn stocks remain high and "the government is expected to continue to provide export subsidies in coming months."

USDA lowered its forecast for 2000-01 U.S. corn exports to 52.07 million tonnes (2.05 billion bushels) from January's forecast of 54.61 million tonnes (2.15 billion bushels) because of "increased competition from China and Argentina."

The forecast for 2000-01 U.S. corn output remains unchanged at 253.21 million tonnes (9.968 billion bushels). USDA forecast an average 2000-01 corn price range of $1.70 to $1.90 per bushel.

While the forecast for Argentina's 2000-01 corn output remains unchanged at 15 million tonnes, the forecast for exports is up slightly at 8.8 million from last month's figures of 8.5 million.

USDA sees no significant change in corn demand for major importers, with Japanese corn imports unchanged in 2000-01 at 16 million tonnes and South Korean imports at 8 million tonnes.

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