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International Grains Council reports drop in global grain production

Adjustment leads to an anticipated decline in closing stocks, positioning them at 580 million metric tons.

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The International Grains Council (IGC) released its Grain Market Report on May 23, 2024, highlighting key changes in global grain production and trade forecasts. The report shows a reduction in the forecast for world total grains production (wheat and coarse grains) for 2023/24, now at 2,297 million metric tons (mmt), down by 4 mmt month-on-month (m/m). This decrease is primarily due to lower estimates for sorghum and barley. Despite increased carry-ins cushioning the supply outlook, carryover stocks are cut by 3 mmt to 588 mmt.

The forecast for global grain trade in 2023/24 is raised by 8 mmt, driven by larger wheat and maize flows. However, the projection for global grains production in 2024/25 is revised down by 10 mmt to 2,312 mmt, reflecting declines in maize (notably in Argentina and sub-Saharan Africa) and wheat (in Russia, Ukraine, and the US). Consequently, closing stocks are expected to drop by 12 mmt to 580 mmt.

Key points from the report include:

  • Soybeans: World soybean trade in 2023/24 is projected to increase by 2 mmt m/m, with 2024/25 global output forecasted 1 mmt higher. Inventories are raised by about 3 mmt, and trade is expected to reach an all-time peak of 172.2 mmt (+2%).
  • Rice: Global rice production for 2023/24 is revised up by 3 mmt, leading to higher consumption and aggregate stocks. In 2024/25, rice production is projected at a record 523 mmt (+2%). Trade is expected to rise slightly in 2025 due to increased demand from Asian and African buyers.
  • Lentils: Global lentils production is anticipated to recover in 2024/25, especially with a larger crop in Canada. Trade in all pulses in 2024 is forecast at 21.2 mmt, down 5% year-on-year (y/y).

The IGC Grains and Oilseeds Index (GOI) saw solid gains, reaching a four-month peak, with wheat prices particularly strong. The wheat sub-Index spiked by 16%, the highest in seven months, driven by frost-related production concerns in Russia. The maize sub-Index rose by 4%, supported by supply uncertainties and strong export demand from Ukraine. The rice sub-Index increased by 4%, led by tightening supplies and higher demand in Thailand. The soybeans sub-Index advanced by 9%, mainly due to production and logistics issues in southern Brazil.

Overall, the report indicates a mixed outlook for global grain markets, with notable reductions in production forecasts offset by higher trade expectations in some commodities. The IGC highlights ongoing challenges such as weather impacts and geopolitical uncertainties affecting global grain supplies and trade dynamics.

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