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Global Staple Food Supplies Face Strain in 2024 Due to Dry Weather

by Jennifer

The world is expected to witness tighter supplies of staple foods, including wheat, corn, and soybeans, throughout 2024. Despite increased global planting of cereals and oilseeds in response to high food prices, several factors are poised to impact food production, leading to potential shortages. Adverse El Niño weather conditions, export restrictions, and higher biofuel mandates are among the challenges contributing to concerns about food supplies.

Key Factors Affecting Staple Food Supplies:

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El Niño Weather Phenomenon: The El Niño weather phenomenon, which brought dry conditions to large parts of Asia in the past year, is forecasted to persist into the first half of 2024. This poses a risk to the production of rice, wheat, palm oil, and other agricultural products in major exporting and importing regions.

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Asian Rice Production: Dry planting conditions and diminishing reservoirs are expected to impact Asian rice production in the first half of 2024. This may result in reduced yields and contribute to a tightening of global rice supplies.

Supply Challenges in Brazil: Brazil, a significant agricultural exporter, is anticipated to produce less corn due to ongoing dry weather conditions. This, coupled with China’s unexpected increase in purchasing wheat and corn from the international market, could impact global grain supplies.

Australian Wheat Production: Australia, the world’s second-largest wheat exporter, may face challenges as farmers could be planting wheat crops in dry soils come April. Intense heat in recent months has already affected yields, and a potential decline in the next crop year may lead to increased imports by buyers like China and Indonesia.

South American Production: South American corn, wheat, and soybean production are expected to improve in 2024, with favorable conditions in Argentina and Brazil. However, erratic weather in Brazil has raised uncertainties about crop outcomes.

Global Palm Oil Production: Dry El Niño weather is likely to impact global palm oil production in the coming year. This reduction in output, combined with anticipated higher demand for palm oil-based biodiesel and cooking oil, may contribute to increased prices.

Overall Supply Situation: While some regions may experience improved grain production, global grain and oilseed stock inventories remain tight. Factors such as the El Niño weather pattern, a declining U.S. dollar, and a return to long-term growth trends in global demand could influence the supply and pricing of staple foods.

Analysts and traders suggest that despite some improvements in the supply picture in 2023, challenges persist, and the world may continue to face uncertainties in staple food availability in the New Year.

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