As the global spread of COVID-19 makes it impact felt, some agricultural commodities have seen a sharp upturn in near-term demand, especially for rice and wheat-based foods, according to the International Grains Council (IGC).

However, weakening economic conditions could dampen usage in the longer term, particularly for industrial products such as maize-based ethanol and starch.

“Although import buying of some commodities has accelerated in recent weeks, logistical challenges are being reported as movement constraints and quarantine measures become widespread. Transportation restrictions could also hamper the distribution of farm inputs and disrupt spring fieldwork. However, at this stage, the council assumes that planting intentions will be fulfilled.”

Further downgrades for South American producers had lowered the 2019/20 global soyabean output forecast by 3M tonnes to 338M tonnes, down by 24M tonnes year-on-year.

“With the net reduction in supplies matched by a cut to total use, world end-season stocks are predicted unchanged month-on-month at 38M tonnes, a contraction of almost one-third year-on-year.

“Modest adjustments to the council’s projections for supply and demand in 2020/21 leave carryovers steady month-on-month, at a below-average level of 40M tonnes. Global import demand is predicted to advance by 5M tonnes year-on-year, to an all-time peak of 157M tonnes, up 3% year-on-year.”

The IGC said its 29th annual conference would be held on 10 June.

The virtual online conference would offer a unique opportunity to gain an insight from more than 50 experts on the main agricultural commodities (wheat, soyabean, maize, rice, rapeseed and pulses) from major exporters, such as South America, the Black Sea region and Europe.

“High level policy-makers will also express their views on the way to enhance globalisation in the grains sector.”

Anyone interested in raising questions and networking with broad variety of operators in the grains and oilseeds value chain should register here:

https://www.igc.int/en/conference/programme.aspx