FOREIGN COUNTRIES' POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
WORLD AND U.S. GRAIN OVERVIEW
Global wheat trade in 1998/99 is projected at 98 million tons, over 2 million tons lower than the 1997/98 level. World production is forecast to be 591 million tons, down 21 million tons from last years record. A decrease of 4 million tons is expected in Argentina, while Canadas crop is forecast nearly 1 million tons below the previous years level. A record harvest (over 103 million tons) is expected in the European Union while Australias crop is projected up 4 million tons and production in the United States is forecast to exceed last years bumper harvest by almost 1 million tons. Lower import demand is mostly attributed to higher production in several key import markets, including most of North Africa, Iran, and Pakistan. 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 more than 11 million tons. The global stocks-to-use ratio at 21 is down almost 2.5 percentage points from a year earlier.
Global rice trade in calendar year 1998 is forecast to reach a record 24.9 million tons, a 6 million ton increase over last year, and 4 million tons more than the previous record. The surge in trade is largely demand driven, as crop shortfalls in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and throughout much of Latin America have greatly increased import needs. However, record crops in Thailand, China and India have allowed these exporters to increase shipments to help meet the huge demand. The United States and Vietnam also have large exportable supplies available, and Japan has emerged as a major provider of rice as food aid. In 1999, trade is projected to fall to 20.4 million tons as production is expected to rebound in several of the importer countries that are driving 1998 trade. However, world production and stocks are projected to fall sharply in 1998/99, primarily due to a flood-reduced crop in China.
Global coarse grain trade for 1998/99 is forecast at 86.5 million tons, nearly unchanged from the 1997/98 forecast 86.9 million tons. Stock estimates for 1998/99 are up 2.5 million tons from 1997/98, with projected coarse grain stocks building most heavily in the United States corn stocks and European Union barley stocks. World coarse grain production is predicted to be 883 million tons in 1998/99, down 6 million tons from 1997/98. Coarse grain consumption is now forecast to fall marginally in 1998/99. This predicted downward trend in coarse grain consumption is due to: forecast slower feed growth in China, reductions in feed use in South Korea and production shortfalls in Eastern Europe and the former USSR countries.
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