Chinese think-tank sees higher 2014-15 grains output, imports to fall
BEIJING (Reuters) —China will post another bumper grains harvest this year, after subsidies and other incentives encouraged farmers to expand acreage under grains, according to forecasts by an official think-tank published on Thursday.
The expected strong harvest has let to a lower estimate for imports amid a record level of stocks and moderate growth in consumption, said the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre.
China is likely to produce a combined 552.14 million tonnes of wheat, corn and rice in 2014-15, up 1.7 percent from last year, while imports of the three grains are expected to fall by 34.3 percent to 11.5 million tonnes, the centre said.
Consumption is expected to grow just two percent to 530.93 million tonnes, hurt by slower economic growth and negative margins for pig breeders which are dampening feed production.
China, the world’s top wheat producer and consumer, is expected to produce 122.6 million tonnes of the grain in 2014-15, up 0.7 percent from last year.
Wheat imports for 2014-15 (June/May) are expected to fall to three million tonnes, from seven million tonnes in the current year, the centre said.
China, the world’s second largest corn consumer, is expected to produce a record 222.1 million tonnes of the grain in 2014-15, up two percent from last year, it said.
Beijing is likely to release its huge corn stocks as early as next week, traders said, after a record purchases by the government tightened supplies in the market.
The government has stockpiled a record of nearly 70 million tonnes during a scheme ending April, said the centre. Beijing does not publish its grain stocks.
The centre also cut the country’s corn import estimate to 3.5 million tonnes for 2014-15 (Oct/Sept) from 5.5 million tonnes estimated for this year.
China has been turning away corn imports from the United States, the world’s largest exporter, after detecting an unapproved genetically-modified strain.