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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.

Good world cereal production to prevail in 2015/16

Release date: 09/07/2015

FAO’s latest forecast for 2015 world cereal production  stands at 2 527 million tonnes, 1.1 percent (27 million tonnes) below the 2014 record, and fractionally above expectations last month, as improved prospects for coarse grains were offset by a cut in the rice forecast. The upgrading of the coarse grains production outlook mainly rests on a 1 percent (5 million tonnes) increase for maize to 1 007 million tonnes, reflecting larger than earlier-anticipated crops in Europe and South America, owing to improved weather conditions. The global 2015 wheat forecast remains unchanged from June at 723 million tonnes, but around 1 percent (8 million tonnes) lower than the record of 2014. The year-on-year decline is the result of lower expected outputs in the EU and the Russian Federation, where yields are anticipated to return to average levels, after the exceptionally high levels achieved last year. By contrast, prospects for rice deteriorated further over the past month, with 2015 production revised down by 1.2 million tonnes, largely reflecting lower expectations in Asia, in particular for India. As a result, global rice production is now forecast at 499 million tonnes, barely 1 percent above the 2014 outturn.

FAO’s forecast for world cereal utilization in 2015/16 has been raised marginally since June. The most notable revision concerns the estimates of maize feed use, which have been adjusted upward in both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 marketing seasons. At 2 534 million tonnes, world cereal consumption is anticipated to grow by 1.2 percent (30 million tonnes) from the 2014/15 estimated level. More than half of this increase corresponds to coarse grains, the utilization of which is foreseen to rise by 1.4 percent to 1 306 million tonnes, underpinned by a greater maize usage for feed, especially in Brazil, China and the United States. The forecast for rice utilization in 2015/16 has been cut slightly since last month and is now foreseen in the order of 507 million tonnes or 7 million tonnes more than in 2014/15, with much of the year-to-year increase corresponding to food. The volume of cereals destined to direct human consumption is projected to rise by 1.2 percent (13 million tonnes), compared to 2014/15, which would lead to a stable cereal per caput food intake of 152.4 kg per year.

The FAO forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of 2016 crop seasons has been lowered by 3 million tonnes since the previous report to 631 million tonnes, mostly on account of wheat. Based on the latest forecast, world cereal inventories would be down 2.1 percent (14 million tonnes) from their high opening levels, with rice mainly responsible for the reduction. Based on the latest stock and utilization forecasts, the global cereal stock-to-use ratio would drop to 24.6 percent, one percentage point less than in 2014/15, but still above-average. World wheat inventories are now put at around 198 million tonnes, unchanged from their opening levels, but 4 million tonnes lower than reported in June, with the bulk of the reduction arising in the EU, India and Indonesia. As for coarse grains, global inventories are forecast marginally higher than last month, as most upward adjustments to end-of-season stocks, especially for Brazil, China and Ukraine were offset by reductions in Australia and the United States. Compared with last year, coarse grains stocks are now predicted to decline by 2 percent (5 million tonnes) to 264 million tonnes. Although the forecast for world rice carryovers in 2016 has been raised somewhat since June, they are still expected to drop by 4 percent (8 million tonnes) from last year to 169 million tonnes, with much of the load-off concentrated in major exporting countries.    

Global trade in cereals in the 2015/16 marketing season is forecast at 358 million tonnes, 1.2 percent (4 million tonnes) below the 2014/15 estimate, but 7 million tonnes higher than in the previous report in June, with most of the upward adjustment associated with coarse grains. International trade in coarse grains (July/June) in 2015/16 is now forecast at 165 million tonnes, almost 7 million tonnes more than earlier anticipated, but still some 2 percent (3 million tonnes) less than in the previous season. Higher maize exports by Argentina, the Russian Federation and the United States are the main reason for this month’s upward revision. However, the volumes of world trade in barley and sorghum have also been raised since June, mainly on expectations of increased purchases by China. World wheat trade in 2015/16 (July/June) is forecast at 151 million tonnes, close to the previous season’s level and around 1 million tonnes more than predicted last month on higher anticipated sales by the EU, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Rice trade in 2016 (January/December) is now expected to be in the order of 42.1 million tonnes, in milled rice equivalent, about 400 000 tonnes less than anticipated in June, and virtually unchanged compared to last year. All exporters are expected to step up their rice deliveries in 2016, except India, where a tightening of supplies and growing domestic requirements are foreseen to result in a 20 percent contraction in rice shipments.


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.