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Reference Date: 22-March-2016


  1. Prospects for 2016 winter wheat crop are favourable

  2. Cereal output in 2015 reached a record level

  3. Aggregate cereal imports in 2015/16 forecast to decrease from last year’s all‑time high

  4. Prices of rice and wheat were stable in February

Prospects for 2016 winter wheat crop are favourable

The 2016 winter wheat crop, which accounts for about 95 percent of China’s total wheat production, is currently in the early development stages and harvesting will start in late May. Beneficial precipitation since November, coupled with seasonably cool weather, aided vegetative development of the crops over large parts of the country, including in the main producing areas of Yangtze River Valley and North China Plain. The China National Grain and Oils Information Centre estimates the area planted to winter wheat for harvest in 2016 at 22.8 million hectares, unchanged from last year’s record level, largely reflecting strong Government incentives for wheat production. Current expectations point to an aggregate wheat output (winter and spring crops) close to the 2015 record level of 130 million tonnes.

Cereal output in 2015 at an all‑time high

The 2015 aggregate cereal production is officially estimated at a record level of 572.9 million tonnes. Most of the increase came from a significant growth in maize output, although production of the other major cereals, wheat and rice, also rose. Maize output is estimated to have reached a record of 224.6 million tonnes, 9 million tonnes (or 4 percent) up on the previous year, following larger plantings and yields. Similarly, area and yield gains resulted in a 3 percent increase in the 2015 wheat output to 130.2 million tonnes. The 2015 rice harvest was estimated at 208.2 million tonnes, 0.8 percent above the previous year’s record.

Cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year forecast to remain high but lower than in 2014/15

Total cereal imports in the 2015/16 marketing year are currently foreseen to fall by 9 percent to 28 million tonnes compared to the exceptionally high level of the previous year, mostly as a result of the bumper 2015 harvests and large stocks. The bulk of the decrease is attributed to an anticipated reduction in maize and sorghum imports, which are forecast to fall by 46 percent and 31 percent, to 3 million tonnes and 7 million tonnes, respectively. By contrast, imports of barley are expected to continue to expand to a record of 8.5 million tonnes. Strong domestic demand for premium quality wheat is seen to double imports of wheat to 3 million tonnes during the 2015/16 marketing year (June/May). Rice imports in calendar year 2016 are anticipated to decrease by 6 percent to 5.8 million tonnes, as a result of Government efforts to limit informal inflows.

Prices of rice and wheat were stable in February

Retail prices of Japonica rice and wheat flour were stable in February, reflecting adequate availabilities from the 2015 record production. Overall, quotations were around their year-earlier levels.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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