World cereal inventories expected to rise for the first time since 2017/18 – FAO

The UN food agency lowered its forecast for global cereal production in 2021 marginally to 2 817 million tonnes, according to the latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However, the figure remains 1.7 percent, or 47.8 million tonnes, higher than in 2020, which would mark a new record high.

Forecasts for world coarse grains production have been cut back to 1 513 million tonnes, 3 million tonnes below last month’s expectation, the FAO said, adding that Aa large cut to the Brazilian maize production forecast accounts for the bulk of the expected global decline, with prolonged periods of dry weather dragging down yield expectations.

World wheat output in 2021 has been lowered by 1 million tonnes to 784.7 million tonnes, still 1.2 percent higher year-on-year, as the dry weather conditions in the Near East cut back yield prospects.

By contrast, the forecast of global rice production in 2021 has undergone a slight upward adjustment since June, with a record of 519.5 million tonnes of rice now expected to be harvested in 2021, up 1.0 percent from 2020.

World cereal utilization in 2021/22 has been lowered by 15 million tonnes from the previous month to 2 810 million tonnes, nevertheless still 1.5 percent higher than in 2020/21. The downward revision comes largely from lower-than-earlier-anticipated utilization of maize in China for animal feed.

According to the FAO, world cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2021/22 are now forecast to rise above their opening levels for the first time since 2017/18, following a sharp upward revision to 836 million tonnes, up 2.4 percent from last year’s relatively tight level. Higher maize stocks foreseen in China account for the bulk of this month’s upward revision to world cereal inventories.

FAO’s latest forecast for world trade in cereals in 2021/22 has been raised slightly since June and now stands at a record 472 million tonnes, driven primarily by likely large maize purchases from China taking global maize trade to record levels.

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