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Grains Council cuts world wheat forecast
LONDON ,The International Grains Council (IGC) cut its estimate of world wheat output in 2003/04 by nine million tonnes to 573 million on Wednesday as continued dry weather across eastern Europe damaged crop prospects.
"The main reductions are for Russia, Ukraine and southeast Europe, where dry conditions threaten spring sown crops," the IGC said in a special report issued ahead of its annual conference in London this week.
The IGC cut its forecast for Ukrainian wheat production to 8.5 million tonnes, down from 11 million, and for Russia output was trimmed to 37 million tonnes from 39 million.
It said a shortage of rain in the western Prairies had resulted in a cut of one million tonnes in the wheat estimate for Canada to 24 million tonnes, but this would be offset by a rise in the US crop forecast, put at 59 million tonnes against a previous 58 million.
The US figure had been revised on the basis of very favourable reports from spring wheat and hard winter wheat areas, the report said.
China's wheat output was downgraded by one million tonnes to 88 million due to hot weather in parts of the north of the country, the IGC said.
But many of the world's major exporters would be producing much more wheat than last year, regardless of the latest revisions.
Canadian production in 2002/03, for example, was just 15.7 million tonnes and the US figure was 44 million tonnes.
Total world wheat output in 2002/03 was 566 million tonnes.
The IGC cut its world wheat consumption forecast to 597 million tonnes, two million below the May estimate, largely due to a fall in animal feed use.
It said a drop in feed use in Russia, Ukraine, the European Union and Australia would only be partly offset by a rise in US demand.
But because of the comparatively larger drop in production, world wheat ending stocks for 2003/04 were put at 133 million tonnes, down from a previous 140 million tonne estimate and a 2002/03 figure of 157 million tonnes.
The IGC said the biggest falls were in China (down 19 million tonnes) and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Global wheat trade was expected to reach 101 million tonnes in 2003/04, a rise on the previous estimate of 99 million.
The IGC said the revision was due to an increase in milling wheat needs of Ukraine, and to a lesser extent Russia, after their poor harvests. However, this would be partly offset by a drop in North African requirements due to their bumper crops.
The IGC estimates for coarse grains were barely changed from the May figures with maize production pegged at 629.5 million tonnes against 628.8 million and barley output at 141.9 million tonnes against 142.4 million.
Maize output in 2002/03 was 597 million tonnes and barley 133 million.
MGR Archive 27.6.2003
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