July 18, 2011

 

China forecasts slower 2011 grain output growth
 

 

China's agriculture ministry is forecasting steady grain production this year, suggesting that the country's grain output will grow slower than last year.

 

In 2010, total output increased 2.9% from a year earlier to 546.41 million tonnes.

 

China's meteorological officials expect a drought between July and November in major corn-producing areas of northeastern China as well as in the main rice area south of the Yangtze River, said the ministry's chief economist and spokesman, Chen Mengshan, adding that crops may be damaged by insects.

 

It is about 100 days from autumn grain harvests and the crop growth may face severe challenges from possible natural disasters in the following months, Chen said.

 

It would be very difficult to achieve an increase this year in output of autumn grain, he added. Autumn output of grains - including corn, rice and soy - accounts for about 75% of the nation's total grain production.

 

China's 2011 summer grain output, most of which is wheat, reached 126.27 million tons, up 3.12 million tonnes, or 2.5%, from 2010, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

 

However, autumn grain acreage will likely rise 0.6% from a year earlier to 77.1 million hectares, with corn and rice areas increasing "considerably," Chen said.

 

Corn acreage totalled nearly 33.3 million hectares, an increase of 2% from a year earlier, while mid-season rice area reached 18 million hectares, an increase of 3.1%, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a separate report Friday (Jul 15).

 

NDRC said soy area this year will likely fall 11% from last year to 7.6 million hectares.

 

Hog production has shown signs of recovering, with pig inventories rising for a fourth consecutive month in June, Chen said.

 

The Ministry of Commerce's plan to release pork reserves may not have much of an impact on prices or availability, as stocks total around 200,000 tonnes, equivalent to merely 1.5 times the nation's daily pork consumption of around 140,000 tonnes, underscoring the difficulties the government faces in using such stockpiles to manage demand.

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