|food outlook||No.4, December 2005|
|global information and early warning system on food and agriculture(GIEWS)|
FAO latest forecast for the 2005 world cereal output has been raised considerably since the September report to 2 005 million tonnes, 2.4 percent lower than last year’s record crop. Cereal crops have been satisfactory in most regions, except parts of Africa and South America.
Planting of the 2006 cereal crop is underway in the main producing regions under generally favourable conditions so far. However, prospects are uncertain in Southern Africa and South America.
Global cereal utilization is forecast to rise in 2005/06, with an expected increase in food consumption leading to some gains in the average per capita consumption in developing countries. By contrast, feed use of cereals is expected to decline.
World cereal stocks are forecast to decrease, mostly reflecting smaller coarse grains inventory as a result of lower production this year.
Cereal trade is expected to contract in 2005/06 following improved production in several major importing countries, mainly in Asia.
International prices of cereals are generally higher than a year ago. Export prices have increased sharply in Argentina, reflecting reduced wheat production, and in South Africa as a result of high regional demand for maize.
World milk output is expected to grow in 2005, but supplies from traditional exporters remain tight. International trade prices have stabilized at high levels supported by firm demand, particularly in Asia and North Africa.
International prices of oilseeds have weakened in recent months following a substantial increase in production in 2004/05 (October/September), which has resulted in record oilseed carryover stocks.
Global sugar production is forecast to rise in 2005 but sustained demand in developing countries will likely keep the global supply tight. International sugar prices remain firm.
International banana prices have increased reflecting the impact of adverse weather in Latin America. In late November, the EU adopted a tariff-only system for banana imports due to start in January 2006.
Any further extensive spread of avian flu could seriously disrupt global poultry and feed markets.