|The Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture is undertaking a review of the food outlook publication with the aim of improving the quality and timeliness of the reporting. Four issues of the report will be published in 2004, of which this is the first. Subsequent issues will be in June, September and November. |
While some changes to the structure of the cereal section have already been introduced in this issue, work will continue throughout the year to enhance the content and improve the structure and presentation of the publication.
Click here for 2004 schedule and contents
World cereal production is forecast to increase in 2004 to 2 131 million tonnes, which would be some 2 percent up from last year and 3 percent above the average of the past five years. The bulk of the increase is expected in wheat, although rice output is also seen to rise significantly. By contrast, production of coarse grains is forecast to decrease marginally.
Global cereal utilization is anticipated to rise further in 2003/04 to 1 971 million tonnes, up 1 percent from the previous year but still slightly below the 10-year trend.
Global cereal stocks will fall sharply by the end of seasons in 2004. Despite an upward adjustment since the previous report in November, aggregate closing inventories are still forecast to be down by 18 percent from their opening levels.
International cereal prices have strengthened since the previous report in November, reflecting tight market conditions.
Food aid costs per unit are expected to increase due to generally tighter world cereal supplies, strong international prices and higher freight rates for 2003/2004.
The world cereal import bill in 2003/04 is expected to rise by 2 percent from the previous year to about US$38 billion. Although a smaller volume of trade is forecast, this will be offset by higher international prices and a steep increase in ocean freight rates.