By FWi staff

WORLD production of coarse grains has been forecast to soar to 876 million tonnes – 13m tonnes higher than estimated last month – on the back of improved prospects for maize in China and the USA.

In comparison, world barley is expected to decline due to smaller crops in the EU, USA, Iraq and Morocco. Output should recover stongly in Russia and the Ukraine, noted the International Grains Council (IGC).

World trade expectations remain unchanged at 94m tonnes, although higher than last season by about 1m tonnes.

The total reflects higher estimated requirements of maize for Brazil, Korea and Morocco, and larger imports of barley into Iran.

In its monthly report, the IGC said that it expects the USA to increase maize exports in the coming season, while those from Argentina could decline.

Only limited changes have been made to import demand for barley.

World estimates – coarse grain
  96-97 97-98 98-99 99-00 (forecast as at 28/04/99) 99-00 (forecast as at 26/05/99)
Production 914 894 885 863 876
Trade 92 88 93 94 94
Consumption 881 884 880 884 879
Stocks 124 134 139 124 136

World consumption was placed 5m tonnes lower than the previous expectation of 879m tonnes.

“Poor profitability continues to characterise the hog (pig) industry, the result of excess production in recent years,” said a spokesman from the IGC.

Poultry flocks are growing more slowly in many countries than in the mid-1990s as consumers eat less because they are poorer.

This decline, along with higher production takes world stock expectations to 136m tonnes – only 3m tonnes down on the previous year.