IGC lowers world wheat forecast

By FWi Staff

WORLD wheat production in 1998/99 is now expected to be 4 million tonnes lower than previously expected at 593m tonnes.

The latest forecast from the London-based International Grains Council blames reduced estimates for Argentina, China, Kazakhstan and Russia which will only be partly offset by increases in Australia, the EU and the USA.

Despite this decrease in supply, this years output is still expected be second to the record 609m tonnes of 1997.

World trade is forecast at 94m tonnes, down 1m from 1997/98. The recent flood damage in China is likely to be offset by large carry-over wheat stocks. Import requirements are forecast at £3m tonnes compared with £2m last year.

World estimates – wheat
  95-96 96-97 97-98 98-99 (forecast as at 29/07/98) 98-99 (forecast as at 26/08/98)
Production 541 582 609 597 593
Trade 90 95 95 95 94
Consumption 553 579 588 601 602
Stocks 106 110 132 127 122

Import figures for Indonesia have been reduced by 0.5m tonnes to 3.8m tonnes but may be slightly higher if problems occur with securing rice on concessionary terms reports the International Grains Council Embargo.

World consumption is forecast to be 1m tonnes higher than anticipated at 602m tonnes. That compares with 588m last year. Feed wheat use is expected to rise by 3m tonnes to 104m tonnes.

Poor harvests in CIS countries are likely to result in lower feed use. Good supplies in EU countries and the USA should boost wheat feeding. It is anticipated that the phasing out of consumer flour subsidies will reduce food use in Indonesia.

Reduced crop estimates for CIS countries have brought world stocks down 5m tonnes to 122m tonnes. Despite this fall, aggregate stocks in the five major exporters are forecast to rise by over 7m to 48m tonnes.

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