The slight decline from 2016 is due to anticipated reduction in global wheat production - now expected to fall 2.7 percent in 2017 to 740 million tonnes - mostly on price-induced planting cuts in Australia, Canada and the United States.
By contrast, total production of coarse grains in 2017 is provisionally expected to rise to a new record level of 1 353 million tonnes, substantially thanks to a surge in production in Brazil and Argentina along with a rebound in South Africa after last year's drought.
World rice production is expected to grow 1.0 percent to 504 million tonnes, as more plantings in India and Indonesia along with higher yields in Brazil and China should more than offset declines elsewhere, including in drought-stricken Sri Lanka.
Cereal utilization and inventories
Global cereal utilization is expected to grow by only 0.8 percent in 2017 to 2 597 million tonnes. The deceleration from last year's 2.2 percent pace reflects slower growth in the use of grains for animal feed as well as for biofuels such as ethanol.
Tallying both the output and consumption projections, FAO's first forecast for world cereal stocks at the close of 2017/18 stands at 680 million tonnes. That is down just 2 million tonnes from the previous season and leaves the global stock-to-utilization ratio at a comfortable 25.4 percent level.
Wheat stocks are expected to rise 2.5 percent to 246.6 million tonnes, while maize stocks will likely fall by 4 percent to 207 million tonnes on the back of large drawdowns in China and the U.S. Global rice inventories are forecast to remain broadly stable at 170 million tonnes.
Thursday April 6, 2017/ FAO.