Analytical Reports

Global cereal production heading for a record high

FAO’s new forecast for global cereal production in 2023 has been raised by 5.9 million tonnes (0.2 percent) in July from the previous month, now standing at 2 819 million tonnes, 1.1 percent higher year on year and reaching a record high.

This month’s increase almost entirely reflects better prospects for global wheat production, with the forecast lifted by 0.9 percent to 783.3 million tonnes, albeit still remaining 18.4 million below the record registered in 2022.
Upward revisions have been made to the forecast for wheat production in the European Union, where generally conducive weather conditions instigated a small upturn in yield expectations, notwithstanding the effects of rainfall deficits in the Iberian Peninsula.
Forecasts have also been raised marginally for Canada and Kazakhstan, where spring wheat is predominantly grown, on account of higher-than-previously anticipated plantings, while recently released official estimates place Türkiye’s wheat crop higher than the preliminary forecast.
These increases more than offset a sizeable cut to Australia’s production forecast, as expectations of drier-than-normal weather conditions have undermined yield prospects.

The forecast for global production of coarse grains in 2023 was lowered fractionally this month but, pegged at 1 512 million tonnes, is still 2.9 percent higher than in 2022.
The downgrade includes downward revisions to maize production forecasts for East African countries, owing to uneven rainfall distribution that curtailed yield potentials.
These reductions more than outweigh an increase in the global production forecast for barley, largely reflecting official estimates from Türkiye that point to a larger-than-initially expected harvest.
Improved yield expectations for Bangladesh and a few small adjustments to production figures for countries located along and south of the equator, where main crop harvests have now concluded, have slightly raised FAO’s forecast for world rice production in 2023/24 to 523.7 million tonnes (milled basis), up from a revised 2022/23 global harvest figure of 517.6 million tonnes.

The forecast for world cereal utilization in 2023/24 has been lifted marginally (by 1.5 million tonnes, or 0.1 percent) since June and is now set to reach 2 805 million tonnes, 0.9 percent higher than in 2022/23. An upward revision of 2.3 million tonnes to wheat utilization, driven mostly by higher-than-earlier-anticipated feed use, has lifted the total wheat utilization forecast for 2023/24 to 783 million tonnes, 0.3 percent higher than in 2022/23.
Pegged at 1 503 million tonnes, FAO’s forecast for total coarse grain utilization in 2023/24 is nearly unchanged since June and still points to an expansion of 1.6 percent from the 2022/23 level, with an anticipated increase in maize utilization, especially for feed, accounting for the bulk of the growth.
World rice utilization in 2023/24 remains forecast at 520.0 million tonnes, essentially unchanged from the 2022/23 level, as an anticipated population-led expansion in food use will likely be largely offset by a reduction in the use of rice for animal feed.

FAO’s new forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of 2023/2024 seasons stands at 878 million tonnes, up 5.1 million tonnes (0.6 percent) from the previous month and 2.3 percent from the previous season.
At this level, the global cereal stocks-to-use ratio in 2023/24 would remain unchanged year on year at 30.6 percent, continuing to indicate comfortable supply prospects in the new season.

Global wheat inventories are now seen rising slightly above their opening levels (by 0.9 percent) in 2023/24 and reaching 314 million tonnes, as a result of a 5.5-million-tonne upward adjustment this month largely following revisions made for China, the European Union and Kazakhstan.

The forecast for global coarse grain inventories has been trimmed fractionally this month, mainly resting on downward revisions to maize stocks in Brazil and Ukraine, but still points to a 3.7-percent year-on-year rise to 366 million tonnes in 2023/24, bolstered by a sharp anticipated rebound in maize stocks in the United States of America.

World rice stocks at the close of 2023/24 seasons are pegged at an all-time high of 198.5 million tonnes. This forecast is up slightly from June, mainly mirroring expectations of a less pronounced drawdown in Myanmar.

FAO’s latest forecast for world trade in total cereals in 2023/24 points to a 0.9-percent decline from the 2022/23 level despite a 1.1-million-tonne (0.2 percent) upward revision made this month, largely concerning wheat.

The forecast for global wheat trade in 2023/24 (July/June) has been lifted from June by 1.6 million tonnes to 195 million tonnes, but still represents a 3.4-percent contraction from the 2022/23 record level. Expectations of larger sales by Canada, supported by better production prospects, and a stronger demand from China than previously anticipated, underpin this month’s upward revision. At 221 million tonnes, the forecast for trade in coarse grains in 2023/24 (July/June) is nearly unchanged since last month and down just marginally (0.3 percent) from the 2022/23 level.

Global maize trade is seen contracting in 2023/24 by 0.8 percent, with import demand from the European Union anticipated to retreat from its high level in 2022/23 and exports from Ukraine forecast to fall, along with a likely decline in sales from Paraguay after rising to a record in 2022/23.

World trade of barley is also predicted to contract in 2023/24, mostly reflecting a foreseen decline in sales from Australia and a weaker demand in Asia.

By contrast, global sorghum trade is forecast to expand, bolstered by an expected recovery in sales by the United States of America and larger purchases by China.

Largely reflecting downscaled import expectations for Bangladesh, China and Nigeria, FAO’s forecast for international trade in rice in 2023 (January-December) has been lowered to 53.0 million tonnes, down 0.6 million tonnes from June’s forecast and 5.1 percent below the 2022 all-time high.