World cereal production in 2015 is expected to be almost sufficient to cover global utilization – FAO
World cereal production in 2015 is now forecast at 2 527 million tonnes, 2.6 million tonnes lower than last foreseen and 33.9 million tonnes (1.3 percent) below the 2014 record. Most of this month’s downward revision reflects a lowering of maize and wheat forecasts, as that of barley was raised and that of rice kept unchanged.
At 1 301 million tonnes, the current forecast for world coarse grains production in 2015 is about 1 million tonnes less than expected last month and 32.3 million tonnes (2.4 percent) below 2014. This month’s revision was very much the result of a 5 million tonne, weather induced, lowering of maize production in China, which is nonetheless anticipated to harvest a record crop.
On the other hand, maize production prospects improved for Brazil, Mexico and the United States. World barley production was also lifted by 1.4 million tonnes since November, almost entirely on account of the EU. As for wheat, with most crops already harvested, global production is now estimated at 735 million tonnes, marginally down from the November figure, but still slightly above 2014.
This month’s lowering mainly reflects adverse weather in Pakistan, Brazil and Argentina. At 491.4 million tonnes, FAO’s forecast for global rice production (milled rice basis) in 2015 has remained virtually unchanged since last month, still suggesting a year-on-year contraction of almost 3 million tonnes, or 0.6 percent.
Global cereal utilization in 2015/16 is now forecast at 2 529 million tonnes, nearly unchanged from the previous month, but 1.0 percent greater than in 2014/15. This would imply a sharp slowdown from the 3.2 percent and the 4.3 percent growth registered in 2014/15 and 2013/14, respectively, due mainly to less robust demand prospects for feed and industrial uses.
Total utilization of coarse grains is projected at 1302 million tonnes, slightly higher than it was anticipated last month. Compared to 2014/15, the world coarse grain usage would be only marginally higher with feed use reaching 743 million tonnes, up 1.3 percent from the previous season.
By contrast, global utilization of wheat is anticipated to expand by 1.8 percent to 728 million tonnes in 2015/16, with its food use increasing by almost 1 percent to 491 million tonnes and feed use by 3.5 percent to 145 million tonnes. The strong growth in wheat usage in animal rations is likely to be concentrated in the EU and the United States, compensating for an expected sharp decline in Canada, which harvested a smaller wheat crop this year.
World rice utilization is anticipated to grow by 1.3 percent, to 499 million tonnes, of which around 402 million tonnes expected to be consumed as food, some 1.4 percent more than in the previous season and broadly in line with world population growth.
According to the latest FAO’s assessment, this season’s decline in world cereal stocks is likely to be less pronounced than predicted last month, following upward adjustments to coarse grains (mainly maize) and rice inventories. Total cereal stocks by the close of seasons ending in 2016 are now forecast at 643 million tonnes, 5.8 million tonnes higher than anticipated last month and 2.9 million tonnes (only 0.4 percent) below the 2015 estimate.
As a result, the global cereal stock-to-use ratio is estimated at almost 25 percent, slightly less than the 2014/15 ratio of 25.6 percent. The forecast for world coarse grains inventories has been raised by 5.3 million tonnes to 271 million tonnes, with the United States accounting for most of the revision, now standing only 0.2 percent short of last year’s record.
The forecast for global rice stocks was also scaled up, by 900 000 tonnes to nearly 166 million tonnes, mainly on account of higher figures for Bangladesh, the Republic of Korea and Indonesia. At this level, world rice inventories would be some 6 million tonnes (3.6 percent) lower than in 2015, with much of the drawdown concentrated in India and Thailand.
By contrast, world wheat carryovers may increase to 207 million tonnes in 2016, 4 million tonnes (1.9 percent) above their already high opening level. The forecast is marginally below that of last month, on lower than anticipated inventory build-ups in Argentina and Brazil. Much of the increase in world inventories next year is expected to reflect sharp rises in the EU, China, the United States and the Russian Federation, more than compensating for significant drawdowns in Argentina, Canada, India and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At around 364.5 million tonnes, international trade (exports) in cereals in 2015/16 is currently anticipated to fall by about 11 million tonnes, or 2.9 percent, from the previous season’s record. The forecast has remained broadly unchanged since last month, as small reductions in wheat and rice trade counterweighed an increase in coarse grains.
Compared to the previous season, global wheat trade in 2015/16 (July/June) is seen falling by as much as 6.3 million tonnes, or 4 percent, to 149.5 million tonnes, largely on expectation of significant reductions in imports by Morocco, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey. World trade in coarse grains in 2015/16 (July/June) is forecast to decline by 5.7 million tonnes, or 3.2 percent, from the previous season’s record to around 170 million tonnes.
Much of the drop would rest on an 11.3 percent and 9.0 percent contraction in barley and sorghum trade volumes, respectively, following sharply reduced purchases by China. Global trade in maize is likely to drop by 0.9 percent from the previous season’s peak to 127.5 million tonnes, on lower imports by the Islamic Republic of Iran and Mexico.
By contrast, in calendar year 2016, world rice trade is anticipated to rebound by 2.6 percent, sustained by stronger import demand by Indonesia, the Philippines, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Nigeria.