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Country Briefs

  China

Reference Date: 25-August-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Floods have negatively affected localized areas of central and southern parts, but overall impact on 2016 cereal crops expected to be limited

  2. Cereal production in 2016 forecast to decrease marginally

  3. Cereal imports in 2016/17 forecast sharply down from 2015/16 record level

  4. Prices of rice and wheat were stable in July

Cereal production in 2016 forecast to decrease marginally

Heavy seasonal rains, coupled with storms and typhoons since mid‑June, triggered severe localized flooding in central and southern parts of the country, causing severe damage to housing, infrastructure and the agricultural sector. According to official data, in July, at least 612 people lost their lives, 1.87 million houses were damaged or destroyed (the highest number since 2011) and 7.3 million hectares of farmland negatively affected. At the time of the floods, harvesting of the 2016 winter wheat crop, which accounts for 95 percent of the annual production, was nearing completion in the central and eastern parts of the country, while the spring wheat, normally grown in the northern areas, was being planted. Excessive rains and consequent pest outbreaks negatively affected the ready‑to‑be harvested winter wheat crop in localized central areas of the eastern provinces of the country and may have reduced the yield potential of the early‑planted spring crop. As a result, the China National Grains and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC) forecasts the 2016 wheat production at 128.6 million tonnes, 1.6 million tonnes below last year’s level but still the second best on record. As to the 2016 paddy crop, it is still officially expected to reach record levels of 209.1 million tonnes, as flood‑induced losses are expected to be more than offset by an increased output in non‑flood affected areas, namely the northeastern provinces. The 2016 maize output is forecast by CNGOIC at 219 million tonnes, 2 percent or 6 million tonnes below the 2015 level. This anticipated reduction is attributed to area cuts, as farmers shift land from maize to more profitable crop, including soybean, rice and peanuts, following the Government decision to end maize procurement at high minimum support prices this year.

Cereal imports in 2016/17 forecast sharply down from 2015/16 record level

Total cereal imports in the 2016/17 marketing year are currently foreseen to fall by 35 percent to 20.5 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 mainly reflects anticipated reduced imports for feed cereals. Barley and sorghum imports in the 2016/17 marketing year are forecast to fall by 50 percent and 41 percent, to 4 million tonnes and 5 million tonnes, respectively. Similarly, imports of maize are currently foreseen to decrease by more than half to 2 million tonnes. Strong domestic demand for premium quality wheat is seen to keep wheat imports high at 3 million tonnes during the 2016/17 marketing year (June/May). Rice imports in calendar year 2016 are anticipated to decrease by 5 percent to 6.3 million tonnes, as a result of Government efforts to limit informal inflows.

Prices of rice and wheat were stable in July

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