The IGC met on June 13 in London to review the latest supply and demand outlook and market developments for the global grains and oilseeds markets and recent changes in national policies.
IGC’s latest forecast for 2016-17 point to another year of ample world grains (wheat and coarse grains) supplies. Despite strong anticipated demand, a further accumulation of world carryover stocks was seen as probable at the end of the season. Adverse weather led to smaller rice harvests in many Asian producers in 2015-16, but a recovery was anticipated in the coming year as growing conditions improve. Nevertheless, because of continued growth in consumption, rice stocks were projected to tighten again, potentially dropping to a seven-year low.
The council noted that recent poor weather has downgraded 2015-16 soybean prospects in South America, but world production was still expected to be the second largest on record. Although planting of South America’s next crop is still some months away, a rebound in output in that region could see 2016-17 production match that all-time high of two seasons earlier.
IGC also discussed and decided on various administrative matters during the meeting, including an update from the secretariat on progress with the economic work program. The council agreed the work program for 2016-17 would continue to focus on core analytical activities. However a key development was the initiation of biannual dialogue with the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) on major policy issues affecting trade.
The council also appointed Aly Toure, permanent representative of Côte d’Ivoire to the International Commodity Organizations, London as chairman for 2016-17 and Eric Willems, deputy head of unit, DG agriculture and rural development, European Commission, Brussels as vice-chairman.
IGC took note of statements by observers from the FAO, IGTC, OECD, WFP and WTO. It also welcomed the participation of observers from China and Taipei Chinese Separate Customs Territory.
On June 14, members of the council were joined by representatives from industry and other organizations for the IGC Grains Conference, on the theme of “Changing dynamics: the new trading environment.” Among the themes discussed were the supply and demand outlook, the impact of external factors on production and trade, recent trade policy developments including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade and logistics.