IGC raises forecast for international wheat crop

LONDON (Reuters) — The International Grains Council has raised its forecast for global wheat production in 2014-15, saying prospects are generally favourable despite concerns about the U.S. crop outlook and political tensions in the Black Sea region.

World wheat production was projected at 700 million tonnes, up four million from last month’s forecast but still slightly below the previous season’s 709 million tonnes.

Global consumption of wheat in 2014-15 was forecast at 700 million tonnes, up from the previous season’s 692 million tonnes.

“Growth in food and feed de-mand are expected to entirely absorb output with carryover stocks forecast to be little changed in 2014-15,” the IGC said in a monthly report.

Wheat prices have risen this month, boosted by concern that dry weather could curb U.S. production, as well as political turmoil in the Black Sea region, a key grain-exporting region.

The IGC said global corn production is expected to rise in 2014-15 to a record 961 million tonnes, up marginally from the previous season’s 959 million tonnes, leading to a further buildup in stocks to a 15-year high.

“Preliminary projections for 2014-15 indicate a slight expansion in area and assuming yields at similar levels to the previous year, output is forecast up 0.3 percent,” the IGC said.

Global corn consumption in 2014-15 was projected to rise to 945 million tonnes from the previous season’s 931 million tonnes.

“Strong demand growth is expected but, led by a steep increase in the U.S., world closing stocks are forecast to expand again in 2014-15, potentially to the highest level in 15 years,” the IGC said.

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