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Brazil's corn, ethanol exports surge after U.S. drought

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's trade ministry said the country's exports of corn and ethanol rose in October as foreign buyers turned to Brazil after the worst drought in 50 years ravaged U.S. crops.

Sugar and iron ore exports surged in October from a year before as well, as weather at the main ports remained clear and global demand for the raw materials was strong, the ministry said on Thursday.

Brazil harvested a record corn crop of nearly 73 million metric tons (80.47 million tons) this past season, which surpassed its soy output for the first time in a decade. Corn exports last month reached a record 3.66 million metric tons to beat September shipments of 3.14 million and October year-ago exports of 1.52 million.

The drought the U.S. grain belt has kept global demand strong for corn of other origins and will help push Brazilian exports of the grain into record territory this year. Shipments are expected to reach 17 million metric tons.

Ethanol exports from Brazil were also responding to the strong demand for the biofuel created by the U.S. drought over the corn crop, the main feedstock for North American ethanol.

Brazilian ethanol shipments reached 492.2 million liters in the past month, up from the 452.7 million in September and 247 million liters in October a year ago, the ministry said in a monthly report on the country's main commodities exports.

Raw sugar exports also hit a record last month, and iron ore and coffee exports were strong as well.

(Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Bob Burgdorfer)

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