WORLD AND U.S. GRAIN OVERVIEW
Global wheat trade in 1998/99 is projected at 97.5 million tons, 3 million tons lower than the 1997/98 level. World production is forecast to be 586 million tons, down 24 million tons from last years record. A decrease of 4.5 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 nearly 2 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 12.7 million tons. The global stocks-to-use ratio at 20.9 is down nearly 3 percentage points from a year earlier.
Global rice trade in calendar year 1999 is forecast at 21 million tons, a 5.6 million ton decline from the record level of 1998. World production is forecast to fall to 560 million tons (rough basis), an eight million ton decline from last year, as major exporters Thailand, India and China are not expected to match the record crops produced in 1997/98. However, production is expected to rebound in Latin America and many of the key importer countries that drove 1998 trade, significantly reducing global import demand. World rice stocks are projected to decline to the lowest level in 16 years, primarily due to reductions in China, India, and Japan.
Global coarse grain trade for 1998/99 is forecast at 87.5 million tons, nearly unchanged from the 1997/98 forecast 86.6 million tons. Stock estimates for 1998/99 are up 5.0 million tons from 1997/98 largely due to higher U.S. corn stocks. World coarse grain production is predicted to be 880.5 million tons in 1998/99, down 700,000 tons from 1997/98 as reduced production in the Former Soviet Union and European Union more than offset the larger harvests in the United States and China. Coarse grain consumption in 1998/99 is now forecast marginally higher than the 1997/98 level.
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