28 May 1999

HGCA grain warning

MOUNTING intervention supplies will offset a smaller EU grain harvest predicted this year, warns the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.

The predicted cut has come from French-based Strategie Grains. Its latest forecast suggests the harvest will be down 7m tonnes to 200m tonnes this year due to poorer planting conditions in countries like Denmark and drought in areas such as Spain. There has also been a cut-back in area sown.

But large intervention stocks will pressurise prices, warns HGCA economist Gerald Mason. "The EU carried over about 13m tonnes in intervention and early predictions suggest it could be 22m tonnes into the next," he says. &#42