International Grains Council (IGC) noted at its latest meeting that world grain stocks were expected to increase further at the end of 2009/10, to 373 million metric tons, mainly resulting from more ample wheat supplies.

The outcome of the global maize harvest would depend on southern hemisphere crops early in 2010, plantings of which had been reduced, but this year’s big rise in U.S. output was offset by marked falls in China and the EU. For 2010/11, a slight reduction in the total wheat area was forecast. With an assumed return to average yields following the highs seen in 2008 and 2009, this was expected to result in a crop of 645 metric tons, 3.5% lower than the past year’s, likely leading to a minor decline in world stocks. World trade in wheat in 2010/11 was forecast to be only slightly smaller than the estimate for the current year.

The Council also examined the factors likely to affect supply and demand in the next five years. It noted that grain availabilities were currently more ample than forecast a year ago, with the secretariat assuming that output would rise by 1.5% annually to 2014/15. Improved economic activity should boost grain demand but a slowdown in the expansion of the ethanol sector may contain growth.

Feed demand was expected to increase, although this would be affected by the increased use of industrialco-products such as distillers dried grains, as well as oilseed meals. Global stocks were projected to recede, mainly because of tightening maize inventories. World trade in grains was expected to rise by 2% annually.

Members of the Council also reviewed the global oilseeds situation, with another year of very big purchases by China helping to lift world trade in soyabeans in 2009/10 to a record 78 million tons from 76.8 million tons in 2008/09.