IGC raises global grains production forecast

The International Grains Council (IGC) has raised its forecast for world total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production in 2019/20 by 5 million tonnes month-on-month to 2,162 million tonnes, mainly because of an upgrade for maize.

Reflecting better than expected yields, but slightly smaller than predicted harvested area, the outlook for the US maize crop is lifted by 3 million tonnes, to 345 million tonnes (366 million tonnes last year).

World wheat area for the 2020/21 harvest is predicted to expand by 1% year-on-year, to 218 million hectare. Wet weather interrupted autumn fieldwork in parts of the EU, most notably in the UK and France. Dryness has left recently sown crops in Ukraine poorly established ahead of the winter, with a significant drop in area reported. In contrast, the area for harvest in Russia is projected to expand. Seeding in the US was virtually complete, with planted area expected to remain close to historic lows. The world rapeseed area is tentatively seen up by nearly 3% year-on-year, including gains in the EU and the Black Sea region.

The Council’s outlook for world soyabean output in 2019/20 is maintained at a peak of 341 million tonnes, the 5% year-on-year contraction reflecting a plunge in US output. Consumption is seen broadly unchanged from before but, due to a higher figure for opening stocks, carryovers are lifted by 3 million tonnes, to 35 million tonnes. This is still almost one-third lower year-on/year, mostly tied to a steep drawdown in the US.

With a modest upgrade for forecast deliveries to China offset by reductions for others, the trade projection is kept at 151million tonnes, steady year-on-year. Largely reflecting the continued slow pace of dispatches by India and Thailand, the outlook for world rice trade in 2019 is cut by 1.0 million tonnes month-on-month, to 43.5 million tonnes, a 6% year-on-year drop.

Global production in 2019/20 is forecast at 500m million tonnes, little-changed year-on-year. And with consumption fractionally higher than in October, world inventories are raised by 1 million tonnes month-on-month, to a record of 180 million tonnes, a 6 million tonnes year-on-year gain. The projection for trade in 2020 is cut slightly but, at 45.4 million tonnes, would represent a moderate recovery.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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