By FWi staff

WORLD wheat production is expected to decline this year by about 14 million tonnes, with output down in a number of the major wheat producing regions.

Wet weather and a higher set-aside rat has cut plantings in the EU, and the winter wheat area in the USA is the lowest since 1972, noted the International Grains Council (IGC).

It is expected that the CIS will make a small recovery following last years disastrous harvest although it will not be as great as originally expected.

Drought could curb production in Iran, and, for the second successive year, in China, predicts the IGC.

Consumption is predicted to increase steeply at 592 million tonnes with 437m for food use.

“Some return from oilseeds to wheat could boost the out-turn in Canada, and India could see a near record harvest.”

But all these forecasts assume normal weather will prevail in countries respective growing seasons, said a spokesman from the IGC.

World estimates – wheat
95-96 96-97 97-98 98-99(forecast asat24/02/99) 98-99(forecast asat25/03/99)
Production 540 582 610 583 583
Trade 90 95 95 93 93
Consumption 551 582 589 592 586
Stocks 111 110 131 123 129

Trade is also expected to be up by 6m at 99m tonnes and world wheat stocks are forecast to drop 24m to 105m tonnes, the lowest since 1980.

The IGC believes that a large part of this decrease is expected to occur in China.