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Date
 18/07/2001
News Provider
 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 NULL
Headline
 China says 2001 summer grain output seen down

China says 2001 summer grain output seen downSHANGHAI, July 17 (Reuters) - China's worst drought in more than a decadeis expected to cut summer grain output by 4.6 percent from last year to101.9 million tonnes in 2001, the State Statistical Bureau said in astatement on Tuesday.Analysts said that would cause China's total grains output to fall for athird consecutive year in 2001, but the decline would not be as huge aslast year as there were signs the drought might be over.In 2000, grains output fell nine percent year-on-year to 462.5 milliontonnes, the lowest since 1994, due to a drop in planting area andunfavourable weather."It is inevitable that our overall output will drop this year becausewe've seen falls in some rice crops and now summer grains," said analystBu Yibiao at the official State Cereals Information Centre in Beijing.The bureau said the summer output would fall because of a smaller plantedacreage and poor growing weather. It gave no breakdown of the crop.Winter wheat accounts for the majority of the summer grain crop, whichaccounts for more than 20 percent of China's annual grain production.The State Cereals Information Centre said in June China's winter wheatoutput was expected to fall 7.1 percent year on year to only 87 milliontonnes in 2001 due to a severe drought in key growing provinces in thenortheast.WORST DROUGHT OVERThe rest of the summer grains crop includes rapeseed and barley, analystssaid.In the past few months, China has been fighting its worst summer droughtin years, prompting cloud seeding in June."The dry weather did affect the corn and soybeans in its sprouting stage,"said Bu. "Now, the drought is more or less over, which benefits the autumncrops, but we still have to watch other factors like frost later in theyear."Analysts said they expected China's soybean output to to fall to 13-14million tonnes from 15 million tonnes and corn production to rise slightlyfrom last year's 106 million tonnes.Weak prices have dampened enthusiasm for growing grains, reflected in theStatistical Bureau's estimates earlier this year that total grain acreagein 2001 was expected to fall 1.7 percent year on year to 107 millionhectares.Soybean areas have fallen and the only bright spot is corn, which has seenplanting expand due to relatively better prices.The State Cereals centre estimated the soybean acreage in the key growingprovinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Liaoning woulddecline between 4.5 percent and six percent this year to around 4.27million hectares.


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