FOREIGN COUNTRIES' POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
WORLD AND U.S. GRAIN OVERVIEW
Global wheat trade in 1998/99 is projected at 97.8 million tons, 3 million tons lower than the 1997/98 level. World production is forecast to be 586 million tons, down 25 million tons from last years record. A decrease of nearly 5 million tons is expected in Argentina, while Canadas crop is forecast unchanged from the previous year. A record harvest (over 103 million tons) is expected in the European Union while Australias crop is projected up almost 2 million tons and production in the United States is forecast to exceed last years bumper harvest by 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 14 million tons. The global stocks-to-use ratio at 20.5 is down 3 percentage points from a year earlier.
Global rice trade in calendar year 1998 is forecast to reach a record 25.7 million tons, a 6.7 million ton increase over last year, and 4.7 million tons more than the previous record. The surge in trade is due to crop shortfalls caused in part by the effects of El Nino, in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and throughout much of Latin America, that greatly increased import needs. However, 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 21.4 million tons as production is expected to rebound in Latin America and most of the importer countries that are driving 1998 trade. Global production and stocks in 1998/99 are projected to be down from the 1997/98 record, primarily due to a smaller crop in China.
Global coarse grain trade for 1998/99 is forecast at 87.8 million tons, nearly unchanged from the 1997/98 forecast 86.5 million tons. Stock estimates for 1998/99 are up 3.0 million tons from 1997/98, with projected coarse grain stocks building most heavily in the United States corn stocks and European Unions barley stocks. World coarse grain production is predicted to be 882.2 million tons in 1998/99, down 4.3 million tons from 1997/98 as reduced production in the FSU and the EU more than offset the larger harvests in the US and China. Coarse grain consumption in 1998/99 is now forecast marginally higher than the 1997/98 level.
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