Members of the International Grains Council (IGC) convened for the 47th Council Session in London, on 18 June 2018. The meeting was chaired by Ms Silke Boger, Head of Unit, DG Agriculture and Rural Development (Arable crops and olive oil), European Commission.

The Council"s latest Grain Market Report (GMR488, 24 May 2018) formed the basis for discussions on the outlook for grains, rice and oilseeds. Total grains (wheat and coarse grains) production in 2018/19 was predicted to fall and with opening stocks seen lower, overall supplies were set to contract to a three-year low . Due to tightening in the major exporters and China, world carryover stocks were projected to decline for a second successive year, to a four-season low. For a sixth year in a row, global trade was projected to rise to a new peak, led by strong gains in maize shipments. Ahead of its next scheduled update (GMR489, 2 July 2018), the Council acknowledged downside risks to crop projections for parts of the Black Sea region and Europe.

Global rice output in 2018/19 was predicted at a new high on area gains in some Asian producers, notably India, more than offsetting a likely fall in China. Stocks were expected to be little changed y/y, with inventories in the major exporters broadly steady. Given firm demand from buyers in Africa and Asia, trade was projected to remain high, with India by far the biggest exporter in 2018 and 2019. Global soyabean production was predicted to recover in 2018/19 on bigger sowings and improved productivity in South America. Due to reduced opening stocks, coupled with record uptake, carryovers were likely to show little change. Trade was anticipated to reach a new high on larger shipments to Asia. Both Brazil and the USA were likely to export more. For rapeseed/canola, the Council expected world output to fall slightly, noting prospects for smaller outturns in key producers, notably the EU and Canada.

The Council considered recent changes in national policies as well as various administrative matters, including an update from the Secretariat on progress with its economic work programme. It was agreed that the programme of work for 2018/19 would continue to concentrate on its core economic and statistical activities. The Council also considered some medium-term and joint collaboration projects which could be developed over the next few years.

The Council agreed to the initiative to develop partnership agreements with non-member organisations and associations with the aim of promoting the expansion of international trade in grains.

The Council appointed Mr Shuichi Akamatsu, Minister, Embassy of Japan as Chairman of the Council for 2018/19. Ms Nathalie Dubé, Minister-Counsellor of the High Commission of Canada was appointed Vice-Chairman.

The Council engaged in a discussion with the FAO, GEOGLAM, IGTC OECD, UNCTAD and WTO to share information on potential market developments. It also welcomed the participation of observers from Bolivia, Indonesia, Mexico and Taipei Chinese Separate Customs Territory.

On 19 June, the IGC welcomed over 350 industry representatives to the IGC Grains Conference, titled "Are grains and oilseeds supplies too heavy to maintain a dynamic market?" Leading government and industry speakers exchanged views on global grains and oilseeds market trends, including a focus on Russia, highlighted the key logistical challenges facing China and Brazil and discussed how new technologies presented opportunities to boost trade.

Over 100 delegates attended the IGC workshop on 20 June which included three panel discussions on the enhancement of the sustainable value chain and focused on the challenges affecting grains, oilseeds and rice demand.

View the full programme, HERE.

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