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FAO Cereal Supply and Demand Brief

The Cereal Supply and Demand Brief provides an up-to-date perspective of the world cereal market. The monthly brief is supplemented by a detailed assessment of cereal production as well as supply and demand conditions by country/region in the quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation. More in-depth analyses of world markets for cereals, as well as other major food commodities, are published biannually in Food Outlook.

Monthly release dates for 2015: 05 February, 05 March, 02 April, 07 May, 04 June, 09 July, 10 September, 08 October, 05 November, 03 December.

World cereal production in 2014 to surpass the record in 2013

Release date: 11/12/2014

World cereal production in 2014 is forecast at a new record of 2 532 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms), 10 million tonnes higher than last month’s forecast and 7 million tonnes (0.3 percent) above last year’s peak. This month’s largest upward adjustment corresponded to coarse grains, the global production of which is set to reach 1 312 million tonnes, just above last year’s record and 8.5 million tonnes higher than  anticipated earlier. The forecast for maize production has been raised by over 5 million tonnes since last month, driven primarily by upward adjustments to production levels in China, the EU and Mexico. Global wheat production is currently forecast at 725 million tonnes, up 7.6 million tonnes (1.1 percent) from the 2013 record level and 2.3 million tonnes more than reported in November. This month’s upward adjustment reflects an upgrading of crops in the EU and the Russian Federation more than offsetting a reduced forecast for wheat production in Australia and Turkey.  Unlike for the other cereals, rice production may undergo a slight contraction in 2014, in the order of 2 million tonnes, or 0.4 percent. The forecast is somewhat lower than portended last month, reflecting poorer crop prospects especially for India, Thailand and Guinea. 

The forecast for world cereal utilization in 2014/15 is put at 2 465 million tonnes, up 48.2 million tonnes (2 percent) from 2013/14. The anticipated year-to-year increase mainly reflects greater cereal usage by the livestock sectors, supported by falling prices. Total feed use could reach 876 million tonnes, 25 million tonnes (3 percent) more than in 2013/14 and 3 million tonnes higher than anticipated in November. Larger feed use of maize in the EU and Mexico is mainly behind this month’s upward revision. The volume of cereals destined for food is expected to increase to 1 104 million tonnes, up 10 million tonnes (1 percent) from 2013/14, implying a stable  average global per capita consumption of 152.8 kg.

The FAO’s forecast for world cereal stocks at the close of 2015 marketing seasons has been raised by 4 million tonnes since last month and now stands at 628 million tonnes, 50 million tonnes (8.6 percent) above their opening levels and the highest since 2000. As a result, the global cereal stocks-to-use ratio would hit a 13-year high of 25.2 percent in 2014/15 (up from 23.5 percent in 2013/14), suggesting a generally comfortable supply situation for the 2014/15 marketing season.  This month’s upward revision mostly concerns coarse grains.  World coarse grains stocks are currently forecast at 258 million tonnes, 3.5 million tonne more than anticipated earlier and now up 36 million tonnes (16 percent) from the previous season. Record maize production is seen to boost inventories in the EU and the United States. Much higher maize carryovers are also anticipated in China.  World wheat stocks are expected to reach 193 million tonnes in 2015, nearly unchanged from the previous forecast but as much as 17 million tonnes (10 percent) higher than their opening levels, reflecting further stocks accumulations in the EU, China, India and the Russian Federation. With global production in 2014 anticipated to fall short of consumption, rice global stocks are predicted to decline by 2 percent in 2015, with the largest offloads in absolute terms expected in India, Indonesia and Thailand.

World cereal trade is forecast to contract by about 17.7 million tonnes (5 percent) in 2014/15, mainly because of wheat and coarse grains and reach 339 million tonnes. World trade in coarse grains could fall to 148 million tonnes in 2014/15 (July/June), down 10.7 million tonnes (6.8 percent) from the previous season with lower maize imports by the EU, and to a lesser extent Egypt, accounting for nearly all of this decrease.  World wheat trade in 2014/15 (July/June) is forecast at 150 million tonnes, down 7.3 million tonnes (4.6 percent) from the previous season with again lower imports by China, Brazil, Mexico and several countries in North Africa.  On the other hand, rice trade is currently foreseen to rise slightly above the 2014 record estimate, sustained mainly by rising demand by countries in Africa and abundant supplies in exporting countries.

Summary Tables

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1/  Production data refer to the calendar year of the first year shown. Rice production is expressed in milled terms.
2/  Production plus opening stocks.
3/  Trade data refer to exports based on a July/June marketing season for wheat and coarse grains and on a January/December marketing season for rice (second year shown).
4/  May not equal the difference between supply and utilization due to differences in individual country marketing years.
5/ Major wheat exporters are Argentina, Australia, Canada, the EU, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States; major coarse grain exporters are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the EU, Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States; major rice exporters are India, Pakistan, Thailand, the United States, and Viet Nam. Disappearance is defined as domestic utilization plus exports for any given season.