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price support and are being deliberately wound down by the government. This trend is more of a matter for China’s internal market rather than overseas maize users and is unlikely to result in a surge of import demand. The other salient features of the world maize market at this point remain the two opposing factors of the Latin American supply surge versus potential reductions in EU/FSU crops (if the hot, dry weather on this side of the Atlantic returns/persists). The South Americans have grown 41m tones more maize this year than last – a rise of about 43 percent. This will be flowing for some time yet into export markets, helping to keep costs restrained, provided the US gets reasonable weather for its main growing season. At the moment, the main concern is for US crops developing at an unusually wide pace after some planting delays and some mixed weather since. With potential for a heatwave in latter half July, there was some unease about how much of the crop might get caught in the key yield-making stage of pollination, when it needs cool weather. That will at least become clear by the time of our next report. Global maize consumption isn’t expected to grow much in the coming season – about seven million tones or less than one percent - compared with 90m tonnes or 9.3 percent in the current 2016/17 marketing year and will likely be static in the US and increasing only slowly in Europe and most of the big Asian feed

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Coarse grains Maize costs have firmed up too in the past few weeks, largely in sympathy with the wheat market but also reflecting some weather issues emerging for EU, east European, Russian and Ukrainian crops. The dominant US market may also have some supply issues, depending on how the weather develops in the next few weeks. First, the good news for the consumer, the official estimate for US planted area has not been trimmed in USDA’s June 30 update as markets expected but has actually been hoisted by almost 900,000 acres to 90.9m, if remaining below last year’s by about 3.5m. Harvest area has also gone up from 82.4m to 83.5m acres (last year 86.7m) which with the 170.7 bu/acre yields that the USDA was using recently, suggests the next crop could be around 362m tonnes compared with357m forecast in June and last year’s record 385m. Adding on big stocks carried in from this season (58.3m tonnes –up by 14m) gives an adequate supply that will not need to draw down stocks to meet domestic and export demand if it does not exceed the forecast 363m. In other words, US stocks will stay at a high level at the end of next season in September 2018. World stocks of maize are expected to decline by 25m to 30m tonnes but that takes place mainly within China, where they have become huge and burdensome in terms of storage cost and

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97 | August 2017 - Milling and Grain

AUG 2017 - Milling and Grain magazine  
AUG 2017 - Milling and Grain magazine