FOREIGN COUNTRIES' POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
WORLD AND U.S. GRAIN OVERVIEW
Global wheat trade in 1998/99 is projected at 98.7 million tons, relatively unchanged from the 1997/98 level. World production is forecast to be 597 million tons, down 14 million tons from the 1997/98 record. Significant crop decreases are expected to occur in the United States and Argentina. Production in Australia and Canada is projected near the 1997/98 levels, while the European Union is expected to harvest a record-breaking crop. Production is up in several key import markets, including most of North Africa, Pakistan and Iran, while the wheat crop in the former Soviet Union is expected to return to a more normal level. Global consumption is forecast to reach record levels and for the first time in three years, is projected to exceed production, drawing down ending stocks by 2.3 million tons. The global stocks-to-use ratio is expected to be slightly lower at 22 percent.
Global rice trade in calendar year 1998 is forecast at a record 22.2 million tons, a 3.4 million ton increase over the 1997 level. The high level of trade is due to strong import demand from Indonesia, the Philippines, and much of Latin America. Adverse weather attributed to El Nino has led to significant production declines in these regions. Despite the surge in demand, world supplies should be sufficient. Record crops in Thailand, China and India will allow these countries to respond with increased exports, and Vietnam is expected to ship a record quantity. U.S. exports are expected to be strong in response to the Latin American demand, and Japan has announced plans to donate rice from its large stockpile to Indonesia.
The initial projection for total 1998/99 coarse grains trade, at 88.1 million tons, is 1.6 million tons higher than estimated 1997/98 trade. Trade in corn, barley and rye is forecast at 61, 16 and 1.9 million tons respectively, a decrease of 1 million tons for corn and increases of 2 million tons for barley and 1 million for rye. Trade in sorghum and oats are projected steady at 6.4 and 2.3 million tons respectively. Overall U.S. exports are projected to increase marginally to 46 million tons (from 44 million in 1997/98), with corn exports increasing from 37.5 to 40 million tons but exports of barley and sorghum slightly lower.
While many of the 1998/99 crops have yet to be planted, initial projections are for a 10 million ton increase in worldwide coarse grain production, to 907 million tons, the second largest crop ever. Global coarse grain consumption is also expected to rise, to a record 903 million tons. 1998/99 is projected to be the third consecutive year of increasing coarse grain stocks, with total ending stocks of 131 million tons. Nonetheless, the stocks-to-use ratio of 14.5 percent is still relatively low by historical standards.
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