FOREIGN COUNTRIES' POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
WORLD AND U.S. GRAIN OVERVIEW
Global wheat trade in 1998/99 is projected at 97.7 million tons, over 2 million tons lower than the 1997/98 level. World production is forecast to be 588 million tons, down 23 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 3 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 13 million tons. The global stocks-to-use ratio at 20.6 is down 3 percentage points from a year earlier.
Global rice trade in calendar year 1998 is forecast to reach a record 25.5 million tons, a 6.5 million ton increase over last year, and 4.5 million tons more than the previous record. The surge in trade is due to crop shortfalls in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and throughout much of Latin America that greatly increased import needs. Meanwhile, record crops in Thailand, China and India propelled world production to a record level as well, allowing these exporters to increase shipments to help meet the huge demand. Increased exports have also been available from the United States and Vietnam, and Japan has taken the opportunity to reduce its burdensome stockpile by exporting a large quantity of rice as food aid. In 1999, trade is projected to fall to 21 million tons as production is expected to rebound in most of the importer countries that are driving 1998 trade. However, world production and stocks are projected to fall sharply, primarily due to a smaller crop in China.
Global coarse grains trade is predicted to rise to 87.7 million tons in 1998/99, up from the 1997/98 forecast 86.9 million tons. World coarse grain production in 1998/99 is forecast to be 883.9 million tons, declining almost 2.0 million tons from the 1997/98 projected level. Despite the forecast decrease in production, stock estimates are expected to rise in 1998/99, up 4.3 million tons from the 1997/98 estimate. Global consumption is expected to reach 879.6 million tons in 1998/99. Although declining 800,000 tons from last month, global coarse grains consumption is still forecast above the 1997/98 level of 877.2 million tons.
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