LONDON, ENGLAND — Global grain stocks are forecast to finish the 2020-21 marketing year at a five-year low at 609 million tonnes, according to the International Grains Council’s (IGC) most recent Grain Market Report released on April 29.

The IGC said an increase in total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production of 36 million tonnes from the previous marketing year will be offset by a 44-million-tonne rise in consumption, leaving stocks 8 million tonnes lower than a year ago.

“The drop in stocks is mainly because of another drawdown of maize, to the least in eight years, which contrasts with a buildup for wheat to a record,” the IGC said.

The IGC projects wheat stocks to increase to 289 million tonnes from 278 million in 2019-20, while maize stocks are forecast to decline by 26 million tonnes despite an increase in production from 1.12 million tonnes to 1.14 million.

Total grains consumption is forecast to trend higher, led by a 20-million-tonne increase in wheat demand.

Largely tied to a production upgrade in Brazil, global soybean output in 2020-21 was forecast up 1% month-on-month, to 362 million tonnes, which is 7% higher than a year ago.

“Nevertheless, with an expected solid increase in consumption, stocks are seen falling for the second consecutive season, including US carryovers contracting by 80% year-on-year,” the IGC said.

Reflecting larger crops in Asia, world rice production in 2020-21 is estimated at a record-high 504 million tonnes, although record utilization, also projected at 504 million tonnes, will result in marginal tightening inventories, according to the IGC.

With strong gains for all the components other than rice, the IGC Grains and Oilseeds Index (GOI), which measures average prices, rose by 8% from last month to 285, a 54% increase year-to-year and its highest level since 2013.

The IGC said the eight-year high GOI comes “as weather worries and tightening supply outlooks sparked solid gains in maize, wheat, soybean and barley prices.”