A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
Focus on issues

A more optimistic outlook for the 2014 grain output
and the 2015 carryover reserves

FAO Cereal Supply and Demand Brief

The very latest FAO brief for 2014 indicates that the world grain production gained one percent––or 20 million tons––over 2013, a progress mostly due to the surge in wheat production in Argentina, in the CIS and in the EU. In addition, the FAO forecasts regarding world carryover reserves at the close of the 2014-2015 harvests should reach the highest level in the past fifteen years, or 631 million tons

Yet, these increases will not paradoxically foster better price stability, and prevent the occurrence of new food crises. In fact, wheat markets provide a perfect illustration of the specific nature of agricultural markets, and of the peril of liberalizing international trade without any watchdog to fight price volatility.

Because the sole production factors are not adequate to explain the performance of agricultural markets, since beyond the permanent threat of exogenous risks––climate hazards, epizootic diseases and geopolitical events––agricultural markets have become complex anticipation markets, where players’ behaviors are as significant as price hyper-volatility. Moreover, short-term estimates have proved to be ineffective, at a time when global agricultural markets are not immune from sharp price reversals.

momagri Editorial Board

FAO has further raised its 2014 world cereal production estimate and its global cereal stock forecast for 2015. World cereal production in 2014 is now gauged at 2 542 million tonnes, 8 million tonnes higher than reported in February, with most of the revision resulting from increases for wheat (Canada and Argentina) and coarse grains (the CIS, India and Nigeria). The latest 2014 global production estimate represents a growth of about 1 percent (20 million tonnes) compared to 2013, much of which accounted for by wheat production gains in Argentina, the CIS and the EU.

The 2015 winter wheat crop is already developing or soon to come out of dormancy in the northern hemisphere, which accounts for the bulk of the global output, while spring plantings are underway in some countries. FAO’s first wheat production forecast for 2015 stands at 720 million tonnes, including an early projection for the southern hemisphere countries that will begin planting in August. At this level, production would be 1 percent below the record output of 2014, predominantly reflecting an expected decline in Europe, as yields in the EU and the CIS region are forecast to return to average levels from the previous year’s high. In North America and Asia, the outlook is more favourable mostly on account of an expected improvement in yields; however the larger anticipated crop is not forecast to offset the reduction in Europe.

Word cereal utilization in 2014/15 is expected to reach 2 475 million tonnes, 8 million tonnes more than projected in February with most of the revision resulting from greater anticipated feed use of sorghum and barley. At the current forecast level, world cereal utilization in 2014/15 would grow by 2.6 percent (over 63 million tonnes) from the previous season. Total feed use of cereals is projected at 878 million tonnes, up 4.0 percent (34 million tonnes) from 2013/14, led by a 3.6 percent (nearly 20 million tonnes) expansion in maize feed utilization. Among the other cereals, feed use of sorghum is anticipated to increase by 10.5 percent (2.7 million tonnes), with much of the rise concentrated in China, where it is seen growing by 1.8 million tonnes (43 percent) from the previous season. Feed use of barley is now projected to match last season’s level, at around 96 million tonnes, about 1.5 million tonnes more than earlier anticipated, due to an upward revision in China. World consumption of cereals as food is forecast to grow by 1.4 percent (15 million tonnes) to 1 108 million tonnes in 2014/15, resulting in an average per caput intake of 153.3 kg, which is slightly above the 2013/14 figure. Food consumption of wheat is projected at 488 million tonnes, 1.3 percent higher than in the previous season, keeping the average per caput level steady at 67.6 kg. As for rice, about 416 million tonnes are currently anticipated to be consumed as food in 2014/15, 1.5 percent more than in 2013/14, fostering a small increase in the annual per caput level from 57.3 kg to 57.6 kg.

The FAO forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of crop seasons ending in 2015 has been lifted by 1.3 percent (8 million tonnes) since February, to 631 million tonnes. The upward revision is partly explained by the more optimistic expectations about production in 2014. However, it was also the result of a review of estimates of stocks from seasons preceding 2014/15, mostly in China and Ukraine. At the current level, world cereal stocks would be as much as 8.6 percent (50 million tonnes) above their opening levels and the largest in fifteen years. Given the expected sizeable build-up of inventories, the global cereal stock-to-use ratio would rise from 23.5 percent in 2013/14 to 25.4 percent in 2014/15, hitting a 13-year record. Global wheat stocks are projected at 199 million tonnes in 2015, 6 million tonnes more than previously anticipated and up 11 percent (20 million tonnes) from 2014. Total stocks of coarse grains are now set to reach 256 million tonnes, 3 million tonnes more than anticipated in February and the highest since 1986/87. Against this general tendency, the FAO forecast for global rice inventories in 2015 has been reduced by more than 1 million tonnes since last month, resulting in a 0.8 percent year-to-year decline to 176 million tonnes. This month’s revision was mainly on account of Thailand, where the government is continuing to launch regular tenders to curtail the size of its public rice stockpile.

The forecast for world cereal trade in 2014/15 has been raised by almost 3 million tonnes since the previous report to 344 million tonnes, but this would still imply a 3.7 percent (13 million tonnes) decline from the 2013/14 record. The upward revision from last month concerns coarse grains, mainly reflecting higher expected imports of sorghum by China. World coarse grain trade is now forecast to reach 152 million tonnes, some 2.3 million tonnes more than previously anticipated, but still 4 percent (7 million tonnes) below the previous season’s record level. Total trade of sorghum is projected at 10 million tonnes, some 53 percent (3.5 million tonnes) higher than last season. The forecast for maize trade remains unchanged at 114.5 million tonnes and nearly 8 percent (10 million tonnes) below the 2013/14 level. Global trade in wheat is also unchanged from the previous month, at 151 million tonnes, or 3.6 percent (5.6 million tonnes) below the estimated 2013/14 record. Wheat exports by the United States are anticipated to decline most, although smaller shipments are also likely from India and Kazakhstan. On the other hand, compared to last month, the forecast for trade in rice in 2015 (calendar) was slightly raised to 41.4 million tonnes, a volume still pointing to a 1.6 percent contraction from the all-time high level currently estimated for 2014.

1 The complete brief is available from:

Page Header
Paris, 18 June 2019