(Adds quote from CEO and details from call with investors)
SAO PAULO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's BRF SA, the world's top poultry exporter, on Friday blamed disappointing third-quarter earnings on stubbornly high corn prices, slack demand and a stronger local currency.
Company executives said in July, after poor second-quarter results highlighted the crisis facing the sector, that the worst was over. But results published Thursday night continued to miss market expectations as costs grew faster than revenue.
Net income at the São Paulo-based company tumbled 97 percent in its last quarter to 18 million reais ($5.7 million) from the same quarter a year ago, missing the consensus profit estimate of 173.6 million reais compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Although prices for corn, the main ingredient for BRF's feed costs, have fallen from record highs in the first half of 2016, they remain nearly twice what they were last year.
Additionally, BRF Chief Executive Pedro Faria told investors on a call Friday that the company was incurring higher costs for carrying higher stocks as it prepares for an expected recovery in demand in the fourth quarter.
"Brazil lost competitiveness because of corn prices and the appreciation of the real in the third quarter," Faria said. He added that BRF was well-positioned to take advantage of an expected recovery in demand at home and abroad starting in the fourth quarter and running through 2017. (Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Paul Simao)