The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in its first estimate of the 2013-14 wheat crop, says a recovery in Europe has led to expectations for the second-largest global crop on record of 690 MMT -- up 4.3% from this year. It sees increased plantings across Europe and a yield recovery in some countries -- notably the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, its outlook for the U.S. is less favorable due to somewhat improved, but lingering drought conditions across the Plains.
FAO said at this stage of the season -- with the bulk of the coarse grains and paddy crops yet to be planted -- it's still too early for even a preliminary global cereal forecast for 2013. But prospects for the first 2013 coarse grains crops in the southern hemisphere are generally favorable. Rice prospects are also encouraging in several countries below the equator.
Meanwhile, it notes that its Food Price Index was unchanged for a second straight month in February at 210 points -- 2.5% less than a year-ago. Since November 2012, the index has moved within a narrow 210 to 212 point range as increases in the prices of dairy products and oils/fats were largely balanced out by declines in the prices of cereals and sugar.