CWB sees global grain crops falling back from records

(Dave Bedard photo)

Geneva | Reuters — The world’s wheat crop will shed three per cent this year to 703.4 million tonnes from last year’s record, but it will still remain above the five-year average, grain marketing company CWB estimated on Wednesday.

The global 2015 corn crop should fall 1.6 per cent from a record last year to 973.5 million tonnes in 2015, Neil Townsend, CWB’s director of market research, said at the Cereals Conference in Geneva.

He put the global 2015 soybean harvest at 299 million tonnes against a record 315.1 million in 2014.

U.S. consultancy AgResource head Dan Basse was more optimistic, pegging the world’s 2015 wheat output at 720.8 million tonnes and the corn crop at 984.9 million tonnes.

Both analysts used comparative data for the 2014 world crops of 724.8 million tonnes for wheat and 989.7 million for corn.

Townsend forecast the European Union would ship a record 32.35 million tonnes of wheat on the world market next season, up from 31.5 million in the current one.

U.S. exports in the 2015-16 season would rebound partly to 27.6 million tonnes, up from a sharply lower 24.5 million estimated for 2014-15, but below the 32 million exported in 2013-14, Townsend estimated. U.S. exports have been hurt by a surge in the dollar this season.

The EU and U.S. rises would be to the detriment of Canada’s wheat exports, which would fall after at least four years of increases, to 20.75 million from 23 million estimated for the current season, Townsend said.

Black Sea countries that harvested hefty crops in 2014 could see their exports wane next season as production returns closer to 2013 levels with the Russian wheat crop pegged at 53.2 million tonnes, down 10 percent on year, Ukraine’s at 21.9 million tonnes, down 11.5 per cent on 2014.

Russian exports, set to rise to 20 million tonnes in the current season from 18.5 million in 2013-14, would fall 12 per cent in 2015-16 to 17.6 million tonnes, also hit by the country’s export restrictions, Townsend said.

Ukraine’s exports are set to fall 12 per cent to 9.7 million tonnes in 2015-16 after a 13 percent rise this season to 11 million tonnes.

Ukrainian consultancy UkrAgroConsult on Tuesday pegged the country’s wheat harvest to decrease to 20.6 million tonnes from 22.5 million tonnes in 2014.

Townsend said combined exports for the Black Sea region including Kazakhstan would fall to 34.1 million tonnes from 37 million in the current season.

Sybille de La Hamaide reports on agricultural commodities for Reuters, based in Paris.

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