LONDON, ENGLAD — In its first full set of projections for 2023-24, the International Grains Council (IGC) is estimating a 1% increase in global grains output, led by an assumed recovery in corn (maize).

Global grain production is estimated at 2.283 billion tonnes, according to the IGC’s Grain Market Report issued on March 16.

“While this would boost overall supply, comparatively larger consumption gains could result in smaller end-season inventories, pegged 1% lower,” the IGC said.

Total trade is predicted to increase 1% to 411 million tonnes, mainly due to accelerating corn and sorghum deliveries into Asia.

With expanded acreage and improved yields, global soybean output in 2023-24 is projected to expand by 29 million tonnes, to 399 million tonnes.

“Assuming bigger crops in Asia, the 2023-24 world outturn could be the largest on record, with increases in uptake and inventories predicted,” the IGC said.

Expanded use of soybeans in the feed, food and industrial sectors will push uptake to a new high with stock accumulation likely. Trade is expected to reach a record at 173 million tonnes.

Rice production in 2023-24 is expected to expand by 2% to 522 million tonnes.

This includes gain in India and other key exporters. Food demand is expected to increase total use while a marginal increase in stocks is likely, the IGC said.

“Amid firmer demand from African and Asian importers, trade is expected to increase 3% year over year,” the IGC said.

Wheat production is estimated to drop from 801 million tonnes in 2022-23 to 787 million tonnes in 2023-24. Corn production in 2023-24 is expected to increase by about 52 million tonnes, to 1.202 billion tonnes.

The IGC also revised its estimates for 2022-23, increasing its total grains production estimate by 2 million tonnes compared to February.

Total production now is expected to reach 2.250 billion tonnes, which is 2% lower year-over-year and the first drop since 2017-18. The IGC said the reduction primarily was due to a smaller corn crop.

“Consumption is also forecast to contract, mainly on reduced feed use but, with a relatively steeper fall in supply, ending stocks will shrink by 2%, to an eight-season low,” the IGC said.

The 5-million-tonne drop in consumption from the February estimate is linked to softer corn demand, the IGC said.

Total trade for 2022-23 is estimated at 407 million tonnes, a 4% drop year-over-year, amid smaller coarse grain shipments.

Global soybean production is estimated at 370 million tonnes, up 4% year-over-year but 8 million tonnes lower than the previous forecast due to worsening prospects in Argentina, the IGC said. A large Brazilian crop will largely offset smaller harvests elsewhere, it said.

“With uptake advancing modestly, stocks are set to tighten,” the IGC said. “Resting on shipments to China, Argentina and a range of other buyers, trade is forecast to rise solidly.”