LONDON, ENGLAND — Members of the International Grains Council (IGC) met on June 8 to review the latest supply and demand outlook and market developments for the global grains and oilseeds markets, recent changes in national policies and various administrative matters. The meeting was chaired by Abdulrahman Al Ruwaitie,  acting-director general of Saudi Arabia-based Grain Silos & Flour Mills Organization.  

The IGC’s latest forecasts for 2015-16, as detailed in the latest Grain Market Report, suggest that world grain (wheat and coarse grain) production may fall slightly short of the previous season’s record. However, the IGC said that with a high level of carryover stocks from 2014-15, overall supplies are expected to remain comfortable. Global demand was forecast to expand, driven mainly by increases in food and industrial uses. While 2015-16 projections for rice were much more tentative, supplies were seen tightening, especially in the major exporters.

Although planting of South America’s next soybean crops was still some months away, an increase in area was expected to maintain a high level of 2015-16 production.

The IGC considered various administrative matters, including an update from the Secretariat on progress with the economic work program. For 2015-16, the IGC said it would continue to focus on its core analytical activities, while enhancing collaboration with other international organizations, particularly through the AMIS initiative. The GMR Markets and Trade Plus, a new package to be launched for private subscribers later this year, would offer detailed insights into world trade flows.

At the session the IGC agreed to extend the Grains Trade Convention, 1995, by a further two years from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017. It also agreed to extend executive director Etsuo Kitahara’s contract for a further two years when it expired in 2016 to 31 January 2018.

The IGC has appointed Ms. Carla Seain, under-secretary for Political Coordination, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Argentina, chairman of the council for 2015-16 and Mr. Aly Toure, permanent representative of Côte d'Ivoire to International Commodity Organizations, London as vice-chairman.

The council took note of statements by observers from the FAO and OECD. It also welcomed the participation of observers from several non-member countries: Brazil, China, Oman and Taipei Chinese Separate Customs Territory.

On June 9, members of the IGC were joined by a large number of representatives from industry and other organizations for the IGC Grains Conference, on the theme of “Building on success, responding to challenges.” Among the themes discussed were the supply and demand outlook, environmental issues and their potential market impact and a special focus on the Black Sea region.

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