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 2024 (tentative): 2 February, 8 March, 5 April, 3 May, 7 June, 5 July, 6 September, 4 October, 8 November, 6 December.

Global cereal production 2024 forecast scaled up and now set to exceed the 2023 level

Release date: 05/07/2024

FAO’s latest forecast for global cereal production in 2024 has been raised by 7.9 million tonnes (0.3 percent) in July and is now pegged at 2 854 million tonnes, up fractionally from 2023 and marking a new all-time high. The monthly increase reflects improved prospects for coarse grains, with the world production forecast lifted by 0.4 percent to 1 530 million tonnes, and for wheat, with expected production up 0.3 percent to 789 million tonnes compared to the June outlook. The bolstered outlook for coarse grains largely rests on better production expectations for maize harvests in Argentina and Brazil. Yield forecasts in the two countries are lifted moderately this month, reflecting more conducive weather after variable conditions in the preceding months. Nevertheless, Brazil’s output is still anticipated to fall well short of the record of 2023. Forecasts for maize production are also raised for Türkiye and Ukraine. These upward revisions more than outweigh downgrades to maize production forecasts for Indonesia and several Southern African countries, where dryness curbed yields, and for Pakistan, due to lower prices and reduced feed demand from the livestock sector that are expected to lead to a cutback in plantings. World wheat production has also been revised upward, mainly based on better prospects in Asia, notably Pakistan, where a record wheat output is likely. Inclement weather in key wheat producing areas in the Russian Federation led to a sizeable cut to the production forecast, tempering the upturn in global prospects this month. FAO’s forecast for global rice production in 2024/25 season has undergone only minor adjustments since June. It continues to point to world rice output possibly expanding by a further 0.9 percent in the new season to reach a fresh peak of 535.1 million tonnes (milled basis).

The forecast for world cereal utilization in 2024/25 stands at 2 856 million tonnes, up marginally (by 5.4 million tonnes or 0.2 percent) since June and 13.6 million tonnes or 0.5 percent higher than in 2023/24. Global coarse grain utilization in 2024/25 has been lifted by 3.7 million tonnes, boosted by higher foreseen feed and other uses of maize and barley, as well as higher food consumption of sorghum. This upward revision now pushes up the global coarse grain utilization forecast to 1 529 million tonnes, up 0.8 percent from the 2023/24 level. World wheat utilization in 2024/25 has also been revised upwards this month, by 1.5 million tonnes, led by increased utilization in Pakistan supported by a larger anticipated domestic production. Notwithstanding the increase, global wheat utilization is still seen falling in 2024/25 by 0.7 percent from its 2023/24 level. World rice utilization in 2024/25 is still forecast to expand by 1.2 percent year-on-year to reach an all-time high of 531.5 million tonnes. The food use component is anticipated to drive this growth, which could result in a 0.5 percent annual expansion in global rice per capita food intake to around 53 kilos.

At 894 million tonnes, FAO’s forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2025 has been reduced by 2.9 million tonnes since the previous month, but expectations still point to a 1.3 percent rise in stocks above the opening levels. With the new forecasts, the global cereal stocks-to-use ratio in 2024/25 would remain nearly unchanged from last season at 30.8 percent, continuing to indicate adequate supply prospects in the new season. This month’s downward revision largely reflects a 4.3 million tonne cut in the global coarse grain stocks forecast, attributed mostly to lower maize stock estimates for Brazil and Ukraine. Despite the downward revision, global coarse grain stocks are still set to increase in 2024/25, reaching 381 million tonnes, up 2.8 percent above their opening levels. By contrast, the forecast for global wheat stocks was raised this month by 1.6 million tonnes to 308 million tonnes, but still pointing to a decline of 1.4 percent below the opening levels. A downgrade in the Russian Federation’s wheat stocks forecast, on account of a smaller anticipated harvest, accounts for the bulk of this month’s downward revision of global wheat stocks. World rice stocks at the close of 2024/25 marketing years are forecast at 204.9 million tonnes, little changed from June’s expectations and 2.7 percent above their record opening levels, largely owing to expected accumulations in China (mainland) and India, and to a lesser extent in Brazil and Thailand.

FAO’s forecast for international trade in total cereals in 2024/25 remains unchanged from June at 481 million tonnes, representing a 3.0 percent decline from the 2023/24 level. Pegged at 231 million tonnes, the forecast for global trade in coarse grains in 2024/25 (July/June) has been lifted marginally (by 0.9 million tonnes) since last month, but still points to a decline of 3.9 percent from the previous season’s level. Although slightly better maize export prospects for Ukraine and higher maize imports by China lifted the global forecast by 1.0 million tonnes, world maize trade is still set to fall by 4.4 percent from the 2023/24 level. The forecasts for world trade in barley and in sorghum in 2024/25 (July/June) are both unchanged from June, with barley trade still seen heading for a decline of 3.9 percent, while global sorghum trade is still forecast to rise by 6.4 percent. The forecast for global wheat trade in 2024/25 (July/June) has been lowered marginally (by 0.9 million tonnes) since the previous forecast, further deepening the expected contraction from last season to 3.7 percent. This month’s downward revision reflects a cut in the export forecast for the Russian Federation, in line with the downgrade in its production forecast. Slightly higher sales foreseen for some other major wheat exporters, including Kazakhstan and Ukraine, offset the cut on the export side. On the import side, purchases have been reduced for Türkiye, following the temporary suspension of wheat imports from 21 June until 15 October, as well as for India, based on the recent government announcement that the import duty would remain in place with the country’s stock levels assessed as adequate. However, those downgrades are partially offset by stronger wheat imports foreseen for China and the European Union.  International trade in rice in 2024 (January-December) is pegged at 51.1 million tonnes, down slightly from June’s forecast, largely owing to more passive import expectations for China (mainland), where rice purchases are now seen at thirteen-year lows.  At the revised forecast level, global rice flows would stand at 3.4 percent below the already reduced 2023 level and at a four-year low.

Summary Tables