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FAO forecasts record wheat production

15 November 20223 min reading

In its new Food Outlook report, FAO’s forecast for world wheat production in 2022/23 stands at a record 784 million tonnes, up 0.6 percent from last season. Significant harvest recoveries in Canada and the Russian Federation are expected to make up the bulk of the year-on-year increase and offset production declines foreseen in several countries, including Argentina, Australia, the European Union, India, Morocco and, especially, Ukraine.

Issued twice a year, Food Outlook offers reviews of market supply and utilization trends for the world’s major foodstuffs, including cereals, oil crops, sugar, meat, dairy and fish. It also looks at trends in ocean freight rates. Supplies of most of these major commodities are at or close to record levels, but multiple factors point to tighter markets ahead.

At 775 million tonnes, total wheat utilization is seen expanding marginally in 2022/23, by 0.3 percent, from 2021/22, mostly driven by higher food consumption of wheat, which is forecast to continue rising in line with population growth, as well as a greater industrial use. By contrast, high wheat prices relative to feed grains, maize in particular, will likely reduce feed use of wheat in 2022/23, largely in China and, to a lesser extent, the United States of America, where supplies are tight.

GLOBAL WHEAT STOCK EXPECTED TO RISE

Based on the latest global production and utilization forecasts, global wheat inventories are expected to rise above opening levels by 2 percent in 2022/23 to 300 million tonnes, the highest level on record. However, most of the projected accumulation of wheat stocks is expected to occur in China and the Russia. Excluding these two countries, wheat inventories in the rest of the world are predicted to fall by more than 8 percent below their opening levels, led by drawdowns expected in India, the European Union and the United States of America, as well as several countries in Africa and Asia.

GLOBAL WHEAT TRADE

World wheat trade in 2022/23 (July/June) is forecast to contract by 1 percent from the 2021/22 record level, down to 194 million tonnes, mostly reflecting export disruptions and expectations of lower import demand in some countries due to bigger domestic harvests. Despite greater recent shipments due to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, wheat exports from Ukraine in 2022/23 are forecast to be well below average and last season’s level because of a slower pace of exports and ongoing logistical challenges. Export restrictions to protect domestic supplies are expected to reduce wheat sales from India, while reduced production will likely curb Argentina’s exports. On the import side, anticipated smaller purchases by China, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kazakhstan, on account of bigger national harvests, are seen to be reducing wheat import demand.

COARSE GRAINS

Coarse grain inventories are forecast to fall to their lowest levels since 2013 due to inventory drawdowns in major countries as a result of anticipated declines in production. Global coarse grain production is forecast to fall by 2.8 percent in 2022, to 1 467 million tonnes.

While it will likely drop in 2022/23, world rice output is envisaged to remain at an overall average level, buoyed by resilient planting levels in Asia and recovering output in Africa.

Global oilseed production is forecast to rebound and reach an all-time high in the 2022/23 marketing year, with increased outputs of soybean and rapeseed expected to offset a likely drop in sunflower seed production.


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