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IGC hikes world wheat crop estimate, cites new quality concerns
The International Grains Council has raised its latest estimate of 2005 world wheat production by 4 million tonnes, to 608 million tonnes.

Increased forecasts for the U.S., Russia and India more than offset reductions for the E.U. and North Africa, the IGC said in its Grain Market Report summary report released Thursday.

But despite the increase, the 2005 estimate still is well below 2004 production of 624 million tonnes. And the Council noted that excessive rains in parts of North America and Europe have raised concerns about wheat quality.

On the consumption side, higher feed use figures for Russia and the E.U., as well as increased food use projections for India, lifted the Council’s 2005-06 wheat consumption forecast by 5 million tonnes to 613 million, equal to the previous year’s record.

Further reductions in crop estimates for North Africa, especially Algeria, and an upward revision in E.U. wheat imports prompted the IGC to increase the global wheat trade figure for 2005-06 by 1.4 million tonnes, to 109 million. That estimate compares with 105.9 million in 2004-05 and is slightly above the 1999-2000 record. Exports by Canada, the E.U., Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine are expected to rise.

Aggregate carry-over stocks in exporting countries are expected to be almost unchanged from 2004-05, although the global total is forecast to fall because of declines in China and India.

For maize, reduced prospects in the U.S., where hot weather affected parts of the Midwest during the key pollination stage, contributed to a 2-million-tonne cut in the Council’s global production forecast, to 671 million tonnes, although the figure remains second only to last year’s record 706 million.

Reduced feed use forecasts for Brazil, because of a smaller crop and limited foreign purchases because of import regulations for genetically modified organisms, and for the E.U., resulted in a cut of 1.0 million tonnes in the world maize consumption figure for 2005-06. This is now placed at 668 million tonnes, slightly below last year.

Stronger import demand, especially in Brazil, Mexico and South Korea, is expected to boost maize trade in 2005-06 by 2%, to 77.9 million tonnes against 76.1 million in 2004-05, unchanged from the Council’s June estimate. U.S. exports are forecast to take a larger share of the total.

The forecast of world maize stocks has been lowered by 5 million tonnes from June, to 130 million tonnes and against 127 million in 2004-05, based on a cut in projected US supplies.

Cuts in barley crop estimates for the E.U., Canada and North Africa lower the world production forecast by 1 million tonnes, to 136.3 million, compared with 151.6 million last season. Consumption too, is placed somewhat lower than before, with another reduction in Spain’s crop estimate restricting the E.U.’s feed use of this grain. Total E.U. barley use for feed is likely to fall by 2.3 million tonnes.

The barley trade forecast is raised slightly, to 16.7 million tonnes, similar to last year’s level, based on higher import estimates for Syria and Algeria. North Africa and China are likely to buy more feed barley and malting barley, respectively, in 2005-06, but feed purchases in Near East Asia are set to fall.

World barley stocks are forecast to be at their lowest since 1995-96, mainly because of a particularly sharp fall in the EU.

Also included in this month’s Council report is a summary of an analysis of world meat market trends and trade in grains.

About 90% of meat exports originate in the major grain or oilseed surplus countries, including Brazil, the U.S., E.U. and Canada. The expansion in meat trade has significantly boosted their domestic grains use and, to some extent, replaced exports of grain to feed deficient countries.

A recent analysis by the IGC Secretariat assessed trends in world meat trade and what this represented in terms of grain equivalent. The grain equivalent of world meat exports is estimated to have peaked at around 47 million tonnes in 2003, but slipped back to 45 million in 2004, mostly because of the disruption to trade caused by animal disease outbreaks.

The grain equivalent of meat exports is forecast to increase by around 3% per year, reaching 56 million tonnes in 2010, about 9 million more than the 2003 peak. The United States will likely remain the largest exporter in grain equivalent terms, with strong competition from other exporters, particularly Brazil.

The estimated grain equivalent of Japan’s meat imports could exceed 11 million tonnes by the end of the decade, up from the current figure of around 10 million.
MGR Archive 31.7.2005
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