New Global Wheat and Corn Forecasts Bring Mixed Results

The International Grains Council world wheat output forecast is up, corn output is down, and the corn trade forecast is 2.5 million tons above last season.

World wheat output will be 587 million metric tons in 2006-07, according to an International Grains Council forecast Thursday. The new forecast is 2 million tons higher than the October prediction but still 31 million lower than the 2005-06 crop.

IGC cut its 2006-07 world corn output forecast by 2 million tons from October. The new figure, 688 million tons, is down 5 million tons from last year's crop.

The higher wheat forecast is due to yields surpassing expectations, especially in Russia. With wheat up and corn down, IGC kept its total 2006-07 world coarse grain production forecast at 1.557 billion tons, a number that the agency says is 41 million tons lower than last season's estimated crop.

Meanwhile, IGC predicted Thursday that 2006-07 global corn trade would reach a record high 81.5 million metric tons. The figure is 2.5 million tons more than last season and 900,000 tons higher than the agency's October forecast.

The agency says the forecast is up due to larger European Union imports caused by high domestic feed prices. Lower import duties also contributed to the forecast, IGC says.

"U.S. export commitments in the first ten weeks of its marketing year were already over 23 million tons, 6 million more than in the same period in 2005," the agency says. IGC adds, however, that U.S. corn exports will slow as competition increases, as Argentina and Brazil's corn export sales are also at a "high level."

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