FAO estimates a decrease in the production of soybeans, rice, coarse grains, soybeans and sugar in Latin America, and an increase in the production of milk and beef. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Outlook report, Brazil will replace the United States as the world’s third largest supplier of soybean oil and will remain the world’s leading supplier of poultry meat and flour.
In South America, a planting expansion in Argentina boosted production forecasts to 20 million tonnes, up 8 percent from a year earlier, while Mexico, the main producer in Central America, saw low wheat plantings cut its production forecasts significantly.
Wheat imports to Latin America and the Caribbean are forecast to increase in 2018/19. year to approach 25 million tons, which is an increase of about 1 million tons, mainly due to higher imports from Brazil and Mexico, the largest importers of wheat in the region.
In South America, a significant drop in the production of large grain is predicted in Argentina and Brazil, and the corn harvest is expected to drop by about 15 percent compared to the record in 2017.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, total corn imports for 2018/2019 forecast at nearly 36 million tonnes, 1.3 million tonnes more than in 2017/18, with the largest increases expected in Mexico, Colombia and Chile. Maize imports from Mexico – the region’s largest importer – will reach a record 16.7 million tonnes, 900,000 tonnes more than in 2017/18, driven by growing demand for animal feed and falling domestic production of the maize.
Lower corn exports from Brazil are expected: they will decrease by 1.5 million tons, to 30 million tons in 2018/19. Argentina’s total coarse grain exports should remain stable at just under 29 million tons.
For Latin America and the Caribbean, the outlook is negative, indicating an annual decrease in total production of 1.5 percent, which will fall to 18.6 million tons. Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay and Venezuela will harvest less rice than in 2017, a decline that will not be offset by increases expected in Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru.
Total Latin American and Caribbean purchases could decrease by 5 percent to 4.2 million tons, as a result of reductions in Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and Peru, due to sufficient local availability and higher international prices. Brazil will see a strong annual recovery (55 percent) in rice exports in 2018, forecast at 0.9 million tons.
Total soybean production is estimated to decline by 9 percent in South America as severe weather-related losses in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay outweigh increased production in Brazil.
In Argentina, the world’s third-largest soybean producer, the average crop fell to a six-year low and total production to a nine-year low. On the other hand, in Brazil, the increase in planted area and almost ideal growing conditions have raised production to unprecedented levels.
As for soybean oil, much of the expected sharp drop in shipments from Argentina and Uruguay will be offset by Brazil, the most competitive supplier this season. In fact, in 2017/18, Brazil could replace the United States as the world’s third largest supplier.
In global flour transactions, Argentina could record the lowest level of exports in the last 9 years. Sales in Uruguay could decrease due to poor harvests. The main gainer would be Brazil, whose exports are forecast to increase by 17 percent, cementing the country’s position as the world’s leading supplier, ahead of the United States.
In South America, the latest estimates point to a drop in production in 2017/18, under generally unfavorable weather conditions (Argentina) and a higher proportion of the sugarcane crop being used for ethanol production (Brazil).
Sugar production in Brazil is expected to decline: production is now estimated at 36 million tons, 4 million tons less than the amount reached in 2016/17. About 58 percent of the sugar cane crop is expected to be used for ethanol production.