LONDON, ENGLAND — The forecast for world total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production in 2015-16 is 1.9 billion, down 2% from last season’s record, the International Grains Council (IGC) reported on Jan. 21. The estimate was down 4 million tonnes from the IGC’s November report.

Mainly because of poorer harvests in South Africa and India, the global maize crop is cut by 8 million tonnes, to 959 million, a 5% year-on-year fall. This is only partly offset by higher output figures than previously for wheat and barley.

Mostly owing to a reduced projection for feed, total grains consumption is now placed a little lower year on year, at 1.98 billion tonnes, but still at its second highest level. With a further increase in the figure for wheat more than offsetting a reduction for maize, projected all-grains ending stocks are lifted to 455 million tonnes, the most in 29 years. Trade is forecast at 315 million tonnes, only 2% less than last year.

Reflecting minor adjustments for key producers, global soybean production in 2015-16 is seen fractionally higher than in November, at a record of 322 million tonnes. With total uptake also raised, coupled with a reduced figure for carry-ins, world ending stocks are cut by some 3 million tonnes, to 44 million, albeit still up marginally year on year and an all-time peak. Although the projection is lowered, major exporters’ carryovers are set to expand by more than one quarter, tied to accumulation in the U.S. The forecast for world trade is unchanged from before, with the 2% increase in volumes shaped by China’s needs.

Global rapeseed/canola trade could be down by as much as 5% as smaller deliveries to Asian markets outweigh an increase in demand from E.U. processors.

Projected global rice output is cut on slightly reduced prospects in some producers, mainly in the southern hemisphere, but, at 473 million tonnes, would be only 1% lower year on year. While the outlook for rice use is maintained, a higher figure for carry-in stocks results in a small upward revision to end-season inventories, to 94.7 million tonnes. However, this is still a drop of 12% year on year owing to depletion in key exporters. The outlook for trade in 2016 is little changed, at close to 42 million tonnes, underpinned by demand from Asian importers. With shipments of 10 million tonnes, Thailand is seen as the leading exporter for the first time since 2011.

The IGC Grains and Oilseeds Index (GOI) weakened by 1% since the November report.

World grain consumption is placed at the second highest level ever, underpinned by strong demand for food, feed and industrial uses. Nevertheless, owing to abundant supplies, there will likely be a further accumulation of end-season stocks (aggregate of respective local marketing years), to a three-decade peak. Smaller wheat and barley shipments to Near East Asia and North Africa, as well as reduced sorghum purchases by China, are seen cutting world grains trade by 2% year on year.

While conditions for 2016-17 winter wheat have not been entirely ideal in some regions, global harvest prospects remain mostly favorable. With only a small drop in all wheat area and average yields predicted, world production is tentatively projected 3% down year-on-year, at 706 million tonnes. Because of lower anticipated feed demand, a marginal decline in consumption is expected. Some contraction is possible in end-2016-17 stocks, but inventories could still be the second highest ever. Trade is likely to rise on increased shipments to Near East Asia and North Africa.