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Global wheat production fall in 2023, still second highest ever

13 December 20233 min reading

According to the Food Outlook report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global wheat production in 2023 is projected to decline below the record level of the previous year, reaching 785 million tons. Nevertheless, it is anticipated to remain the second-largest on record.

Most of the foreseen reduction relates to lower outputs in Australia and the Russian Federation, following all-time highs in 2022, and sizeable production declines forecast in Canada and Kazakhstan. These decreases are anticipated to more than offset production upturns in Argentina, India and the United States of America.

The world total wheat utilization is forecast to rise in 2023/24 to 789.5 million tons, stemming from an expected growth in the food consumption – led by Asia and Africa – and feed use components, while the other uses are anticipated to remain on par with last season’s levels. The increase in feed use is foreseen to be largely concentrated in China, supported by the domestic price competitiveness of wheat relative to other cereals and a larger domestic supply of lower quality wheat this year.

Global wheat inventories are forecast to remain near their record-high opening levels by the close of the seasons in 2024 at 315 million tons. The aggregate stock level of the major exporters is expected to rise, mainly reflecting an increase in stocks in Ukraine and the USA. As a result, the ratio of major exporters’ stock-to-disappearance (defined as domestic utilization plus exports) – a measure of global market availabilities – is forecast to rise from 19.4 percent in 2022/23 to 20.5 percent in 2023/24. 

World wheat trade in 2023/24 (July/June) is predicted to fall to 194.4 million tons from the record level reached in 2022/23. Accounting for most of the foreseen decline among importers, the European Union and Türkiye are expected to curb their purchases this season. On the export side, smaller shipments are foreseen from Australia and Canada, in both cases reflecting an expected fall in domestic production, and from Ukraine, due to ongoing trade disruptions from the war. Partly offsetting those declines, larger sales are foreseen by Argentina, marking a rebound from last year’s slump, and Russia (the world’s largest wheat exporter), which would increase its share in total global trade of wheat.

The latest Food Outlook report offers also updated forecasts for the production, trade, utilization and stocks of other major grains. Trade volumes in coarse grains and rice are expected to decline in 2023/24, even as global maize output is forecast to post a significant increase driven by increased plantings in Brazil and the USA.

“Production prospects across most basic foodstuffs are favourable, but extreme weather events, rising geopolitical tensions and sudden policy changes pose risks for global food production systems and could potentially tip delicate demand-supply balances and dampen prospects for trade and global food security,” the report warned.

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