I.G.C. again lowers world wheat crop forecast

by Jay Sjerven
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LONDON — The International Grains Council on July 2 forecast world wheat production in 2012-13 at 665 million tonnes, down 6 million tonnes from its May projection and down 30 million tonnes, or 4%, from a record 695 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The I.G.C. has lowered its wheat production forecast for 2012-13 steadily from its initial projection of 680 million tonnes as issued in its February Grain Market Report. The I.G.C. said the outlook for world wheat production this year continued to be affected by unfavorable weather conditions in some key producing countries, including Russia. At the same time, it indicated the U.S. harvest to date was better than expected. Also, recent rain in parts of the European Union helped the crop show improvement from “less than ideal conditions” earlier in the season.

The I.G.C. forecast world wheat consumption in 2012-13 at 682 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from the May projection but down 7 million tonnes, or 1%, from a record 689 million tonnes in 2011-12. The I.G.C. indicated reduced feed use in the current year compared with 2011-12 was expected to outweigh continued growth in food and industrial uses of wheat.

World trade in wheat in 2012-13 was forecast at 135 million tonnes, down 1 million tonnes from the May projection and down 9 million tonnes, or 6%, from 144 million tonnes in 2011-12. The I.G.C. said reduced milling wheat imports needs, particularly in North Africa, would be nearly balanced by an increase (from the May projection) in feed wheat trade.

“Smaller export surpluses in the Black Sea region will see demand switch to other regions in the year ahead, especially the United States,” the I.G.C. noted.

The I.G.C. forecast world wheat ending stocks in 2012-13 at 182 million tonnes, down 9 million tonnes from the May projection, down 17 million tonnes, or 9%, from 199 million tonnes in 2011-12 and the smallest year-ending inventory since 173 million tonnes in 2008-09. The I.G.C. noted most of the decline in ending stocks compared with 2011-12 would take place in the major exporting nations.

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