The outlook for global cereal supply in the 2013-14 marketing season remains generally favorable despite downward adjustments to forecasts for world cereal production and closing stocks, according to the latest issue of FAO's quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.
Despite this downward adjustment, world cereal production would still surpass the 2012 level by nearly 8%.
At 2 489 million tonnes, FAO's current forecast for world cereal production in 2013 is marginally lower – by 3 million tonnes – than reported in September, mainly reflecting poorer prospects for the South America wheat crop, following adverse weather.
The expected 8% increase in world cereal production this year over 2012 is mainly the result of an 11% anticipated expansion in coarse grains output to about 1 288 million tonnes.
The United States, the world's largest maize producer, would account for the bulk of the increase, as it is expected to harvest a record maize crop of 348 million tonnes, 27% higher than the previous year's drought-reduced level.
The FAO forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2014 has been revised downward by almost 2% since September, to 559 million tonnes, still 12% above their opening level and the highest level since 2001-02.
International trade in cereals in 2013-14 is forecast to reach 312.4 million tonnes, 1.6% higher than in 2012-13 and slightly above the level expected in September. Trade in 2013-14 is expected to benefit from larger export availabilities of coarse grains in particular.
Meanwhile, the FAO Food Price Index dropped for the fifth month in a row in September, driven by a sharp fall in the international prices of cereals. The prices of dairy, oils, meat and sugar rose slightly.
The Index, which measures the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, averaged 199.1 points last month, 2.3 points or 1% below its August value. It is down 11 points or 5.4% since the beginning of the year. However, it is still higher than in the same period in 2009 or 2010.