UN Food and Agriculture Organization - UNFAO
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global information and early warning system on food and agriculture

No. 4- Rome, October 2001



The outlook for 2001 cereal output has deteriorated since June due to persisting drought in some important producing countries. The latest forecasts put world production well below anticipated utilization in 2001/02, pointing to a substantial decline in stocks.

Food emergencies of varying intensity persist for 62 million people worldwide, according to FAO estimates in September, about the same number as at this time last year.

Cereal production in 2001 is now forecast at 1 842 million tonnes, 14 million tonnes or about 0.7 percent below the estimate for 2000. Output of wheat is forecast at 565 million tonnes, 3.4 percent down from the previous year while that of coarse grains is now put at 885 million tonnes, 1.4 percent up on last year's level. The global rice crop is forecast at 392 million tonnes (milled basis), 1.5 percent down from 2000.

World cereal trade in 2001/02 is now forecast at 230 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the previous season. Stronger demand for wheat and rice would be offset by a reduction for coarse grains.

International export prices for most cereals showed some recovery since the previous report in June. However, the economic and the political uncertainty triggered by the tragic events of 11 September in the United States has put some prices under downward pressure again in recent weeks.

Global cassava production in 2001 is forecast to increase by only 1 percent. Despite a further contraction in imports by the EC, global trade in cassava products is expected to recover this year, owing mainly to large purchases by China. International prices might also start a recovery, following the announcement of a tightening of cassava supplies in exporting countries and expectations of firm grain prices in the EC.

International meat prices continue to strengthen in 2001. However, a deterioration in economic conditions around the globe and the first reported case of BSE in Asia may limit gains in meat prices.

Global pulse production in 2001 is forecast at 58 million tonnes, 3 million tonnes up from the previous year. Strong import demand from the Middle East, North Africa, Central America and the Indian subcontinent could lead to increased trade and higher international pulse prices this season.

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