2014/15 Wheat Production Revised Up

BMI View: We have revised up our Moroccan wheat production forecasts for the 2014/15 season on the back of improved rains leading up to the June harvest. The area dedicated to wheat in Morocco is expected to fall in 2014/15, which will contribute to lower production year-on-year. Still, we forecast output in 2014/15 to come in above historical averages, which will keep imports relatively subdued. Over the medium term, we are relatively optimistic in terms of the country's wheat production prospects owing to government support, but rainfall frequency is notoriously volatile.

We have revised up our forecast for Morocco's wheat production in 2014/15, mainly owing to improved rainfall in the weeks leading up to the start of the harvest in June 2014. Morocco's grain harvest is heavily dependent on good rainfall, and up to mid-February 2014 rainfall levels were significantly lower year-on-year and below multi-year averages. However, between mid-February and the end of March, weather conditions improved, and we now expect production to come in above historical averages. Aside from rainfall, production will be aided by government support, particularly in the form of increased fertiliser distributions as well as an irrigation programme.

Coming Down In Recent Years
Morocco - Wheat Imports ('000 tonnes)

Morocco has recently become one of the world's largest wheat importers, but we believe imports will be relatively subdued for the upcoming 2014/15 season owing to the strong production outlook. Most Moroccan wheat comes from the EU-28, mainly because of favourable proximity relative to North American markets. The Moroccan government occasionally imposes tariffs on wheat importers to encourage domestic production, but this tariff was temporarily removed between January 2013 and May 2014 owing to high local wheat prices. We expect the tariff to eventually be re-instated once the domestic harvest is completed and local wheat prices fall.

Long-term trends in Moroccan wheat production are relatively difficult to predict given the notoriously volatile rainfall in the country. Nonetheless, we expect gradual increases in production over the coming years due to government support, particularly in the form of improved irrigation, along with our view for higher average wheat prices over the coming years. Government protection for domestic farmers in the form of import quotas and tariffs will also help to spur domestic production. However, we anticipate the country remaining a large net importer over the coming years. Per capita wheat consumption in Morocco is already among the highest in the world, meaning consumption growth will be relatively limited, and limited arable land and competition from relatively cheap and efficient imports will restrain production growth.

Morocco Wheat Production & Consumption
2013 2014f 2015f 2016f 2017f 2018f
Wheat Production, '000 tonnes 1 3,850.0 6,900.0 4,500.0 4,702.5 4,932.9 5,154.9
Wheat Consumption, '000 tonnes 1 8,300.0 8,673.5 8,925.0 9,183.9 9,450.2 9,724.2
Notes: f BMI forecasts. Sources: 1 USDA.
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Related sectors of this article: Agribusiness, Grains - Agribusiness
Geography: Morocco

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