Forecast corn exports by the United States were lowered 3.0 million tons this month to 44.5 million, based largely on a 2.5 million ton increase in Argentine exports, now expected to reach 10.5 million tons. Despite lower exports, projected U.S. ending stocks are lower from month-to-month (down from 24.2 million tons to 21.4 million) as forecast domestic consumption was increased from 189 million tons to 195 million.
FOREIGN COUNTRIES' POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
WORLD AND U.S. GRAIN OVERVIEW
Global wheat trade is projected at 97.2 million tons, a 500,000 ton increase over the 1996/97 level. Although world production is expected to reach the record level of 608 million tons, export availabilities in Argentina, Australia, Canada, and the European Union are forecast down 15.9 million tons from the previous year. However, the 6.6 million ton increase in the U.S. crop moderately offsets this loss. Global production will exceed consumption for the second year in a row, and the prospective increase in global ending stocks, up 25 million tons from 1996/97, will enable the global stocks-to-use ratio to recover from the past three years.
Global rice trade in calendar year 1998 is projected at 19.9 million tons, a 1.1 million ton increase over 1997, and the second highest level on record. World production (rough basis) in 1997/98 is forecast to increase by 6.5 million tons over the previous year, to a record 567 million tons. The strong production is expected to be led by record crops in China and India. Thailand and Vietnam are also forecast to increase production in 1998, and as a result are expected to remain the two largest rice exporters. In addition to increasing availability of rice for export, the strong production forecast is also expected to translate into a moderate increase in world stocks. On the importer side, Indonesia is expected to be the worlds largest rice importer in 1998. Extremely dry weather has delayed and is expected to reduce the main crop.
World trade in coarse grains is estimated at 91.1 million tons for 1997/98, down one-half million tons from last months estimate, with reduced corn imports by Southeast Asia the primary factor behind lower trade forecast. In addition to the reduced import levels, substantial changes were made to corn export forecasts for the United States (down 3.0 million tons), Argentina (up 2.5 million tons) and South Africa (down 300,000 tons). Overall coarse grain consumption is projected to reach a record 906 million tons in 1997/98, while global production is forecast at the second highest level on record, at 890 million tons.
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