Global cereal crops output in 2018 is expected to fall to 2 607 million tonnes, about 1.6 percent below the near-record harvest of 2017.
The decline is mostly due to an anticipated contraction in maize production, especially in the United States of America. Lower wheat output is mostly associated with an expected decline in the Russian Federation after an exceptional outcome the year earlier. Meanwhile, FAO tentatively forecasts world rice production to increase by 1.3 percent to reach 510.6 million tonnes, setting a new record high, due primarily to expanded cultivations in Asia.
As for cereal utilization, FAO's new forecast - both food and feed - also points to an all-time high of 2 626 million tonnes.
That reflects a projected 1.0 percent increase in world rice utilization, a 0.8 percent expansion in global wheat utilization and a 0.4 percent rise in total utilization of coarse grains, of which maize feed use is expected to increase by as much as 2.8 percent to a new high of 615 million tonnes. The largest year-on-year increase in the feed use of maize is envisaged in China and South America.
As a result, FAO expects world cereal stocks at the close of seasons ending in 2019 to decline by 2.7 percent and the world cereal stocks-to-use ratio to drop to 27.2 percent, down from its 16-year high level of 28.8 percent in 2017/18 but well above the historical low of 20.4 percent registered in 2007/08.
FAO's first forecast of international trade in cereals in the year ahead is pegged at 406 million tonnes, implying a mere 0.6 percent decline from the all-time high anticipated for the current season.
Thursday May 3, 2018/ FAO.