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FAO sees solid output of coarse grains and wheat in 2013
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

GLOBAL production of coarse grains may climb to a record in 2013 and wheat output may be higher than previously expected as prospects improved for crops in the US, Russia and Europe following dry weather last year, the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization said yesterday.

The world's farmers may harvest 1.27 billion tons of coarse grains including corn, barley and oats, up 9.3 percent from the 1.16 billion tons produced a year earlier, the Rome-based FAO said in a report on its website, providing its first estimates for total supplies from the next harvest. Corn output may be 960 million tons, up 10 percent. The coarse grain harvest will be 28 percent larger in the US, the top grower, that last year had its worst drought since the 1930s.

"The big increases will be in places where last year there were big problems," said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the FAO in Rome. "We're expecting good crops, but we should still watch the weather. In terms of price prospects, good crops could translate to somewhat downward pressure on prices."

Corn prices, which touched a record in August, are down 9.6 percent in 2013 on the Chicago Board of Trade on prospects for a rebound in supplies. US planting is progressing at the slowest pace since 1984, as last year's drought was followed by too much rain in the Midwest this year, government data show.

The US Department of Agriculture said in February that it expected farmers to harvest a record 369.1 million tons of corn. The agency is set to update its US forecast and provide its first estimates for world grain crops today.

The FAO pegged US corn production at 340 million tons and said total coarse grain output may be 366.6 million tons.

Coarse grain output in China, the world's second-biggest producer, may climb to a record 227.5 million tons, including 218 million tons of corn, after farmers expanded planting, the FAO said. Grain output in the European Union will rise 8.3 percent from a year earlier to 152.9 million tons, while the harvest in Russia rises 10 percent to 34 million tons.

The FAO raised its forecast for world wheat production to 695 million tons from an estimate last month at 690 million tons. Production will be 5.4 percent higher than in 2012, it said.

The agency pegged Russia's wheat harvest at 55 million tons, up 46 percent from a year earlier, while Ukraine's crop jumps 25 percent to 19.8 million tons and Kazakhstan's output climbs 39 percent to 14.3 million tons.

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