FAO’s latest forecast of global cereal production in 2004 is 1 956 million tonnes, a substantial increase from the previous year. However, despite a modest expected rise in utilization, the new 2004/05 marketing season may lead to a fifth consecutive annual drawdown of global cereal stocks.
FAO’s first forecast of global cereal trade in 2004/05 stands at 229.7 million tonnes, 3 percent down from the previous year. The decline mostly reflects, good crop prospects in traditional importing countries, as well as a strong production recovery in Europe. In the case of rice, trade is also expected to be limited by tight supplies in major exporting countries.
After rising for several months, international prices of most cereals eased back somewhat in recent weeks reflecting generally favourable prospects for the 2004 crops and, for rice, also the release of government stocks onto domestic markets in China and Thailand.
Global cassava production is forecast to expand in 2004, alongside a sharp increase in trade. A tightening of feed grain supplies in China could stimulate cassava imports to the country and could further strengthen international prices.
International meat prices are surging in 2004 as animal disease outbreaks in major meat exporting countries and resulting bans on imports from these areas are reducing exportable supplies.
International prices for dairy products were well above average during the first-half of 2004, as a result of sustained import demand and limited availability of export supplies. For the remainder of the year, prices are expected to remain at or near their current high levels.
International prices in the oilcrop complex have continued to rise strongly in the past few months, being strongly influenced by tight soybean supplies and by slower growth in palm oil production.
World pulse production is forecast to reach a record 60 million tonnes in 2004, which could lead to increased consumption and trade during the year.