World Food Situation

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 2021: 4 February, 4 March, 8 April, 6 May, 3 June, 8 July, 2 September, 7 October, 4 November, 2 December.

World cereal markets heading towards a record production in 2021/22 but only a marginal increase foreseen for stocks

Release date: 03/06/2021

Current prospects for world cereal production point to a third successive year of moderate growth, with FAO’s first forecast for the world cereal output in 2021 now pegged at nearly 2 821 million tonnes (including rice in milled equivalent), a new record and 1.9 percent above the outturn in 2020. The bulk of this year’s foreseen growth relates to maize, with output anticipated up 3.7 percent from 2020. Global wheat production is also expected to increase, up 1.4 percent year on year, while rice production is set to go up by 1.0 percent.  

World cereal utilization in 2021/22 is expected to expand by 1.7 percent, to a new peak of 2 826 million tonnes. Total cereal food consumption is forecast to rise in tandem with world population, resulting in a stable annual per capita level of 150 kg. As for animal feed use of cereals, similar to 2020/21, a notable feature is an anticipated continued growth in the use of wheat for feed, which is seen to rise to 156 million tonnes, still well below the level of coarse grains, forecast at 895 million tonnes. Based on current production and utilization forecasts for 2021/22, world cereal stocks at the close of crop seasons ending in 2022 are anticipated to increase, but by only 0.3 percent, to 811 million tonnes. The expected small rise in the level of world cereal inventories, which follows three consecutive seasons of declines, may not be sufficient to prevent a further drop in the stocks-to-use ratio, which is forecast to fall from 28.6 percent in 2020/21 to 28.1 percent in 2021/22.

While FAO’s first forecast for world trade in cereals in 2021/22 indicates an increase of only 0.3 percent from the high level estimated for 2020/21, much will depend on the volume of cereals to be imported by China. Word cereal trade in 2020/21 is seen to expand by as much as 6.3 percent, reaching a peak level of 468 million tonnes. Most of this sharp increase, however, reflects surges in imports of cereals by China, which are expected to rise by 30 million tonnes (123 percent) from the previous season.

For more detailed analysis of cereal markets, see the June issue of Food Outlook, which will be released on 10 June 2021.

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.