LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its monthly forecast for the 2014-15 global wheat crop by four million tonnes to a now-record 717 million tonnes, largely reflecting an improved outlook in the European Union and Ukraine.
The IGC update increased its forecast for the EU’s wheat crop by 2.3 million tonnes to 153.1 million and Ukraine’s production by 1.5 million tonnes to 23 million.
“Despite smaller (wheat) crops in North America, Australia and Near East Asia, larger outturns are expected across Europe, the CIS (former Soviet Union) and in China,” the IGC said.
The IGC said global wheat stocks at the end of the 2014-15 crop year were expected to climb to a five-year peak of 195 million tonnes, up eight million over 2013-14.
Total grain stocks were projected to rise to the highest level since the end of the 1999-2000 season.
The IGC said seeding of the 2015-16 winter wheat crop in the northern hemisphere was under way and total area was projected to increase slightly, year-on-year.
The organisation projected 2014-15 world corn production at 974 million tonnes, up one million from last month’s forecast but still below the prior season’s record 983-million-tonne harvest.
” (Corn) Production forecasts for the U.S., EU and Russia are raised due to good yield potential. Because of drought damage, China’s crop is expected to show its first contraction in five years,” the IGC said.
China’s corn crop in 2014-15 was forecast at 215 million tonnes, down from a previous projection of 220 million and now below last season’s 218.5 million.
The U.S. corn crop was put at 360 million tonnes, up from a previous forecast of 355 million and the prior season’s 353.7 million.