Global wheat prices are forecast to rise next year, as consumption outstrips demand for the first time in six years. While global stocks of agri commodities are at historical highs, balance sheets will tighten next year, according to Rabobank.

The Dutch lender, which this week released its outlook for global agri commodity markets in 2018, said there is a 70% chance of a La Nina weather event (unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific) next year which could cause a supply shock in some major grain producing regions.

Chris Clack, a commodity analyst with Rabobank, said there is likely to be a 7m tonne deficit in global wheat next year due to a combination of a 1% decline in production and a 0.5% rise in consumption. This would be the first deficit in global wheat supply since 2012. For Rabobank, it signals the beginning of a new trend towards rebalancing global grain stocks.

Global wheat stocks for 2017 stand at a massive 270m tonnes. This follows another strong global harvest, particularly in Russia where production was up 8% year on year to a record crop of 73m tonnes. However, logistical constraints may actually prevent Russia from exporting this extra production.