INTL FCStone pegs Australian wheat production below official estimates

SYDNEY, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone on Monday projected this year’s Australian wheat production to come in 5.6% lower than official estimates, as a crippling drought in the country’s east shows no signs of easing.

The company forecast Australian wheat production for the 2019-20 season at 14.97 million tonnes, below the country’s latest official estimate of 15.85 million tonnes.

Australia’s chief commodity forecaster last week cut its production forecast by nearly 20% for the year through June 2020 as an unrelenting drought will likely see output fall to an 11-year low.

The lower-than-average production has crippled growers and exporting companies, and provided a hurdle to an economy that is already threatening to stall.

With lower production, Australia - typically one of the world’s largest exporters - is poised to lose greater market share in lucrative markets such as Indonesia and South Korea at a time of falling prices.

Reporting by Colin Packham, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips