FAO Forecasts Record Harvest, Higher Stocks

harvestFood commodity markets, in particular for cereals, are set to be more balanced in 2013/14, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Outlook report.

The biannual report on global food markets said world food imports in 2013 were tentatively forecast at $1.09 trillion, close to last year’s level, but 13 per cent below the record of 2011; adding that higher bills for fish and livestock products are anticipated to offset lower expenditures on most other commodities, especially sugar.

The Food Outlook report which was made available by Christopher Matthews of the FAO Media Relations in Rome; noted that prospects for abundant domestic crops in the least developed countries, low-income food-deficit countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to limit their import needs.

“With the world cereal harvest forecast to surge to a record 2 460 million tonnes in 2013, cereal prices could ease, with markets becoming calmer.”

The latest indications point to a more comfortable world cereal supply-and-demand balance in the new 2013/14 marketing season.
After a relatively tight situation and high prices in 2012/13, “good production prospects and a likely replenishment in world stocks could pave the way for calmer markets and some easing of prices in the new season,” the report said.

This year’s forecast record on cereal production would represent a 6.5 per cent increase on last year’s reduced level, supported by higher global wheat output and a sharp expected rebound of maize production in the United States.

Rice production is also set to increase in 2013, although concerns over diminishing prices may dampen growth.
“Global cereal utilisation is forecast to reach 2 402 million tonnes in 2013/14, which is three per cent above 2012/13.

Total feed use of coarse grains is forecast to be greater in developing than in developed countries for the second consecutive season.
Based on current prospects, by the end of seasons in 2014, world cereal stocks could register an 11 per cent recovery to 569 million tonnes, the highest level in 12 years.

World trade in cereals is forecast to reach 306 million tonnes in 2013/14, similar to the 2012/13 level. A reduction in wheat trade is expected to offset a rebound in maize while rice trade in 2014 is forecast to change little.World sugar consumption is forecast to grow by about two per cent in 2012/13, amid falling domestic sugar prices.

“World meat production is forecast at 308.2 million tonnes in 2013, a modest increase of 4.3 million tonnes, or 1.4 per cent on 2012. While producers in many countries continue to face high feed prices, these started falling in 2012, and could further diminish in 2013.

International prices of dairy products registered strong growth during the first four months of 2013, particularly in March and April, and high prices are expected for the next few months,” the Food Outlook stated.

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