LONDON, ENGLAND — The International Grains Council (IGC) on Feb. 22 lowered its estimate for total grains production in 2017-18 to 2.094 billion tonnes, down from 2.1 billion tonnes in January and down from 2.14 billion estimated for 2016-17. Total consumption held steady at 2.104 billion tonnes.

The IGC said the decline in production primarily reflected poorer maize output prospects in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa.

The IGC estimated world wheat production in 2017-18 at 757 million tonnes, unchanged from January and up from 754 million tonnes estimated in 2016-17. World wheat ending stocks were estimated at 254 million tonnes, unchanged from January and up from 240 million tonnes in 2016-17.

“The projection for wheat points to a tighter market, as a drop in output and solid demand may result in the first reduction in stocks in six seasons,” the IGC said. “Global wheat trade could be a record, including bigger purchases by India and Iran.”

The IGC estimated 2017-18 maize production at 1.048 billion tonnes, down from 1.054 billion tonnes in January and compared with 1.088 billion tonnes in 2016-17. The consumption projection was flat at 1.068 billion tonnes.

Soybean production for 2017-18 was estimated at 347 million tonnes, down 2 million tonnes from 349 million tonnes in January, and down from 350 million tonnes in 2016-17. The consumption projection also was lowered, to 349 million tonnes from 352 million tonnes. The IGC said global trade is expected to total 153 million tonnes, the same as forecast in January.

The 2017-18 world outturn for rice is expected to total 484 million tonnes, unchanged from January. Consumption is expected to increase, to 486 million tonnes from 485 million tonnes.

The IGC Grains and Oilseeds Index (GOI) increased 5%, the IGC said.

“The IGC GOI gained by a net 5% since the January GMR, reaching a seven-month peak,” the IGC said. “Apart from rice, which weakened after an earlier sharp rally, all of the components of the index moved higher. Advances were mainly linked to expanding droughts in Argentina and the southern U.S. Plains, but with robust export demand also contributing to gains in some countries.”