ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The U.S. government barely changed its estimate for next year's U.S. corn surplus, which is expected to stay small and keep high food prices high.
The Department of Agriculture estimates farmers will have 848 million bushels of corn on hand at the end of next summer, up less than 1 percent from last month's forecast. The surplus would satisfy demand for fewer than 25 days. A healthy surplus lasts 30 days.
Higher corn prices have pushed overall food inflation up this year. Corn is an ingredient in everything from animal feed to cereal to soft drinks. The USDA estimates food prices will rise as much as 4.5 percent for all of 2011 and as much as 3.5 percent next year.