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Global Grains Production Booms, but Tight Stocks and Trade Uncertainties Remain

Global grains production is expected to reach a record high in the 2023/24 marketing year, driven primarily by a strong rebound in wheat production, according to the latest report from the International Grains Council (IGC). However, despite the increase in supply, global stocks are expected to remain tight, and trade flows face uncertainty.

The IGC projects total grains production, including wheat and coarse grains, to reach 2,300 million tons, up 3 million tons from the previous month's estimate. This increase is attributed entirely to a revision for wheat, with the forecast for coarse grain production remaining largely unchanged.

"The forecast for total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production in 2023/24 is boosted by 3m t m/m (month-on-month), to 2,300m, entirely on a revision for wheat," the IGC report states.

Despite the increased supply, global ending stocks are expected to remain tight, with the IGC projecting a total of 591 million tons, a 3-million-ton increase from the previous estimate but still the lowest in a decade.

"With little change in the consumption estimate, the larger supply is channelled into closing stocks, placed 3m t higher than before, at 591m (aggregate of respective local marketing years)," the report explains.

Global grains trade has been surprisingly strong in recent months, particularly for wheat and maize, with the IGC now projecting a record high of 443 million tons.

"World trade flows have been surprisingly strong in recent months, especially for wheat and maize; now placed at a record 443m t, up by 8m m/m," the report states.

Looking ahead to the 2024/25 marketing year, the IGC forecasts a modest increase in global grains production, driven by improved barley, sorghum, and oats production. However, global ending stocks are expected to decline for a third consecutive season, reaching 582 million tons, down 2% year-on-year.

"Grains output is projected to expand by 1% in 2024/25, lifted by improved barley, sorghum and oats outturns," the report states. "Larger production will support a modest increase in overall supply and, while only a comparatively small uplift in utilisation is expected, consumption growth will push closing stocks lower for a third successive season, placed 2% down y/y, at 582m t."

Global grains trade is expected to decline to 416 million tons, a five-year low, due to lower global wheat and maize import needs.