IGC raises its forecast for global wheat harvest

20 January 20234 min reading

In its first Grain Market Report for 2023, the International Grains Council increased its forecast for 2022/23 world wheat production to a record 796 million tons, up from the prior season's 781 million tons.

The first monthly IGC Grain Market Report for 2023 was released on January 12, which includes the Council’s initial insights into global supply and demand prospects for grains in the 23/24 season. With southern hemisphere harvests now finished, 22/23 world wheat production is forecast at 796 million tons, a new all-time high.  

World wheat trade in 22/23 is projected at 194 million tons, 3 million tons below the prior year’s record, but includes sharply higher imports by the EU, partly owing to bumper deliveries from Ukraine. IGC also increased its global wheat consumption forecast to 789 million tons, 5 million tons higher than last year. And world wheat stocks for 2022/23 is lowered by 1 million ton to 281 million tons.

Here is the summary of the International Grains Council’s latest Grain Market Report:

The outlook for world total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production in 2022/23 is increased by 1m t from the November Grain Market Report, with output seen 1% lower y/y (year on year), at 2,256m. Given smaller opening inventories and higher use, the forecast for global carryover stocks (aggregate of respective local marketing years) is reduced by 3m t, to 577m, an eight-year low.

With little assumed change in 2023/24 wheat acreage, a pullback in yields could limit production to 788m t, down by 1% y/y. Food demand will likely return to trend growth but, with feeding seen lower, total use is projected to expand by a slower-than-average 1%. World stocks are forecast to tighten, pulled lower by a smaller carryout in the major exporters.

With a downgraded crop figure for Argentina outweighing marginal increases elsewhere, world soyabean output is predicted 3m t down from previously, at a peak of 385m (+8%). With the reduction in supplies broadly matched by a lower consumption number, aggregate end-season inventories are unchanged compared to November. Trade is seen fractionally up from before, at 168m t (+8%).

There are few changes to the Council’s outlook for world rice supply and demand in 2022/23, with a smaller outturn feeding through to a drop in local use and a reduction in stocks. However, uprated expectations for key importers, including China and Indonesia, lift the projection for trade in 2023 (Jan/Dec) by more than 1m t, to 51m (-5%). On the exporter side, outlooks for shipments by India and Thailand are pegged higher than before.

Aggregate grains production totalled 2,256m t in 2022/23, down by 33m compared to the prior season's peak. The contraction mainly reflects a smaller maize crop, seen 58m t lower y/y, with much-reduced harvests in the US, Ukraine and the EU. In contrast, the wheat outturn was a new record, while there was a recovery too, in barley and oats output. Despite an unusual pullback in consumption, pegged 1% lower y/y, at 2,275m t, a comparatively steeper drop in supply will result in a further tightening in global stocks. End-season inventories are seen contracting by 19m t, to 577m, and the ratio of stocks-to-use of 25.3% placed at its tightest since 2012/13. Including smaller maize, wheat, barley and sorghum shipments, grains trade is predicted to recede by 17m t, to 407m.

Despite the backdrop of worrisome conditions in some growing areas of South America, 2022/23 global soyabean production is seen advancing by almost 30m t y/y to a new high, mainly on a sizeable Brazilian harvest, with modest increases elsewhere, too. Record utilisation is anticipated, while inventories are likely to recover, albeit with major exporters’ reserves remaining historically tight. Trade is anticipated to rise by 8% y/y on stronger buying interest for assumed competitively priced southern hemisphere availabilities.

Reflecting reduced harvests in key producers, the 2022/23 world rice outturn is seen falling by 12m t y/y. Against the backdrop of thinner supplies, food uptake is set to decline, while a marked tightening of stocks is predicted, including in China and key exporters. Although trade is projected to contract, volumes in 2023 are still set to exceed 50m t, with Indian exports well above the recent average.


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