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  China

Reference Date: 20-November-2023

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Above‑average sowings estimated for 2024 winter wheat crop

  2. Cereal production forecast at slightly above‑average level in 2023

  3. Above‑average cereal imports forecast in 2023/24

  4. Domestic prices of wheat grain and rice close to last year’s level

Above average sowings estimated for 2024 winter wheat crop

Planting of the 2024 winter wheat crop, accounting for about 90 percent of the annual production, concluded in October, supported by adequate soil moisture levels. The area sown is estimated above last year’s near average level, underpinned by strong domestic demand in part reflecting the recovery in economic activities after the COVID-19 pandemic. Warm weather conditions prevailed in September and October benefitting the establishment of wheat crops.

Cereal production forecast at slightly above‑average level in 2023

The 2023 paddy cropping season will finalize at the end of November, with the harvest of the late double paddy crop. FAO forecasts aggregate paddy production at close to 209 million tonnes, reflecting expectations of some yield improvements relative to last year’s weather‑affected levels, which are anticipated to offset a slight contraction in area planted. However, heavy rains and strong winds, due to several storms and typhoons between July and September 2023, caused localized crop losses in northeastern producing areas, especially in Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces.

Harvesting of the 2023 maize crop finalized last October and the output is estimated at 285 million tonnes, 7 percent above the five‑year average, mostly due to large sowings driven by the strong demand of the feed industry. In the North China Plain, where about 80 percent of the maize is grown, above‑average yields were obtained owing to generally favourable weather conditions. Localized crop losses occurred in southern areas due to dry weather conditions in May and June as well as in northeastern areas due to the negative effects of storms and typhoons.

Production of the 2023 wheat crop, harvested last August, is estimated at a near‑average level of 137 million tonnes, as an above‑average winter season output almost entirely offset the losses of spring season crops due to excessive rainfall amounts at harvest time.

Overall, aggregate cereal production is forecast at a slightly above‑average level of 641 million tonnes.

Aboveaverage cereal imports forecast in 2023/24

Total cereal imports in the 2023/24 marketing year are forecast at a well above‑average level of 50 million tonnes, primarily reflecting strong demand for coarse grains by the feed industry. Imports of maize are forecast at 20 million tonnes in the 2023/24 marketing year (October/September), 23 percent above the average. Barley and sorghum imports are forecast at high levels of 8 million and 7 million tonnes, respectively. Growing demand by the feed industry is also expected to keep imports of wheat grain at high levels as wheat is often used as a substitute of maize. Wheat imports in the 2023/24 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 10 million tonnes, more than 20 percent above the five‑year average, reflecting strong demand by the feed industry as wheat grain is often used as a substitute of maize.

Domestic prices of wheat grain and rice close to last year’s level

Domestic prices of Indica and Japonica rice were generally stable throughout 2023, reflecting good market availability from the near‑average production harvested in 2022 and 2023. Prices strengthened marginally since last July and, in October, they were close to their year‑earlier levels.

After declining in the first quarter of 2023, domestic prices of wheat grain increased marginally between May and July 2023, due to concerns about the negative effects of heavy rains on the output of spring crops. Last October, wheat grain prices were close to their year‑earlier levels.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:

FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS) https://www.fao.org/giews/data-tools/en/ .

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool https://fpma.fao.org/ .

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observation for Crop Monitoring https://www.fao.org/giews/earthobservation/ .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) https://www.ipcinfo.org/ .