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USDA Rice Outlook


11 April 2014

USDA Rice Outlook - 11 April 2014USDA Rice Outlook - 11 April 2014


USDA Rice Outlook

U.S. 2014/15 Rice Plantings Indicated at 2.88 Million Acres

The March 2014 Prospective Plantings report indicated 2014/15 U.S. rice area at 2.88 million acres, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Long-grain accounts for all of the intended expansion; combined medium- and short-grain area is indicated to be down 8 percent. Area was indicated higher in all States except California and Texas. Through April 6, a cool, wet spring has delayed plantings in the Delta.

There were no supply side revisions to the U.S. 2013/14 supply and use balance sheet this month. On the use side, total domestic and residual use was raised 4.0 million cwt to 124.0 million cwt and exports were lowered 3.0 million cwt to 97.0 million cwt. On balance, these revisions lowered the ending stocks forecast 1.0 million cwt to 27.3 million cwt.

The 2013/14 season-average farm price (SAFP) range for U.S. long-grain rice remains projected at $15.30-$15.90 per cwt, with the midpoint of $15.60 the highest on record. The combined medium- and short-grain 2013/14 U.S. SAFP range was revised up $1.00 on both ends to $19.70-$20.30 per cwt.

Global rice production for 2013/14 is forecast at a record 475.6 million tons (milled basis), up 0.8 million tons from last month’s forecast. Production forecasts were raised for Brazil, Pakistan, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Vietnam, while they were lowered for Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and the EU. Global rice consumption and residual use for 2013/14 are projected at a record 474.6 million tons, up 0.5 million tons from last month’s forecast. Global ending stocks for 2013/14 are projected at 111.2 million tons, the largest ending stocks since 2001/02.

Total calendar year 2014 global rice trade is forecast at a record 40.9 million tons, nearly unchanged from the previous forecast. Export forecasts were raised for Guyana, Pakistan, and Thailand, but lowered for the United States and Vietnam. On the import side, China’s 2014 imports were lowered while the Philippines’ imports were raised.

Prices for California milled rice for the U.S. market and the global market continue to rise, mostly over indications of reduced acreage this year resulting from a record drought in the State. U.S. prices for long-grain milled rice remain unchanged from a month earlier. Prices for higher grades of Thailand’s regular-milled white rice are down 4- 6 percent from a month earlier. Price quotes from Vietnam have decreased over the past month as well.

Domestic Outlook

 U.S. 2014/15 Rice Plantings Indicated at 2.88 Million Acres

The March 2014 Prospective Plantings report indicated 2014/15 U.S. rice area at 2.88 million acres, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Long-grain plantings are indicated at 2.23 million acres, an increase of 25 percent from a year ago and the highest since 2010/11. Virtually all U.S. long-grain rice is grown in the South, with the Delta accounting for all of this year’s indicated expansion. The substantial long-grain area expansion is the result of higher prices and expectations of normal weather. In 2013/14, a cold, wet early spring was largely responsible for a more than 200,000-acre decline in long-grain rice in the Delta, mostly in Arkansas.

In contrast, combined medium- and short-grain plantings in 2014/15 are indicated at 650,000 acres, down 8 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 2008/09. The substantial decline in medium- and short-grain area is due to drought and reduced supplies of water for irrigation in California. Southern medium- and short-grain area is indicated to be almost 39 percent higher than a year earlier, mostly due to near-record prices and expected smaller supplies in California.

Arkansas accounts for the bulk of the U.S. 2014/15 indicated area expansion. At 1.52 million acres, rice area in Arkansas is up 41 percent from a year earlier and the highest since the 2010/11 record area of 1.8 million acres. Expansion in both long-grain and medium-grain area in Arkansas was indicated at around 41 percent each, with long-grain acreage indicated at 1.35 million acres. Mississippi growers indicated rice acreage at 170,000 acres, up 36 percent from a year earlier and the highest since 2010/11. The State grows only long-grain rice. Missouri’s 2014/15 plantings are indicated at 180,000 acres—almost all long-grain—up 13 percent from a year earlier.

On the Gulf Coast, Louisiana’s 2014/15 rice plantings are indicated at 421,000 acres, barely 1 percent higher than last year, with medium-grain accounting for all of the increase. At 26,000 acres, medium-grain plantings in Louisiana are indicated to be 18 percent higher than a year earlier, while long-grain plantings are virtually unchanged. The only southern rice growing State to indicate smaller rice area in 2014/15 is Texas, where rice plantings are indicated at 135,000 acres, a decline of 7 percent from a year earlier, a result of a third consecutive year of water restrictions in the State caused by drought and low reservoir levels. Rice area in Texas in 2014/15 is down 47,000 acres from 2011/12.

In contrast to the South, California rice plantings are indicated at 450,000 acres in 2014/15, a decline of more than 20 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 1993/94. The State has experienced the worst drought in its history and reservoir levels are well below normal. After an extremely dry December and January, California experienced heavy storms in February and March, but rainfall totals and the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack still remain critically low. Both Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta—major sources of water for the California rice industry—are currently at less than 50 percent capacity. The State will announce final water allocations for 2014 this month. Planting in California typically begins in May.

 

Indicated U.S. plantings are based on a survey of growers that was conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in early March. Actual plantings may differ from reported intentions. The first survey of actual plantings of the 2014/15 crop will be conducted in early June and reported in the Acreage report to be released on June 30, 2014.

Planting of the 2014/15 U.S. rice crop began in late March, starting on the Gulf Coast and then moving north into parts of the Delta. For the week ending April 6, 15 percent of the U.S. crop was reported planted, nearly even with last year’s pace but 4 percentage points below the U.S. 5-year average. The slower start this year is mostly due to rain in much of the Delta that has delayed planting. In Texas, 39 percent of the crop was reported planted by April 6, an increase of 29 percentage points from a week earlier but still well below the State’s 5-year average of 56 percent. In nearby Louisiana, 55 percent of the 2014/15 rice crop was reported planted by April 6, an increase of 24 percentage points from a week earlier and nearly even with the State’s 5-year average.

In the Delta, Arkansas’ 2014/15 crop was 7-percent planted by April 6, 3 percentage points ahead of a week earlier but well below 14 percent a year earlier. In Mississippi, 6 percent of the 2014 rice crop was planted by April 6, up from 2 percent a week earlier but below 11 percent a year earlier. Planting has just started in Missouri, with 2 percent reported planted for the week ending April 6, well behind its 5-year average of 9 percent. Planting has not yet begun in California.

U.S. Rice Supplies in 2013/14 Projected To Decline 5 Percent

There were no supply side revisions this month. The 2013/14 U.S. rice crop remains estimated at 189.9 million cwt, down 5 percent from a year earlier. Long-grain production remains estimated at 131.9 million cwt, down 9 percent from a year earlier. Combined medium- and short-grain production remains estimated at 58.0 million cwt, up 5 percent from 2012/13.

Total U.S. rice imports remain projected at 22.0 million cwt, up 5 percent from a year earlier and second only to the 2007/08 record of 23.9 million cwt. Long-grain imports remain projected at 18.5 million cwt, a decline of 1 percent from a year earlier, but still the second highest on record. Thailand remains the largest supplier of long-grain imported rice to the U.S., shipping its premium jasmine rice, an aromatic variety, almost exclusively. India and Pakistan are typically the next largest suppliers, with their premium basmati rice accounting for nearly all of their sales to the United States.

Combined medium- and short-grain rice imports remains forecast at 3.5 million cwt, 51 percent higher than a year earlier and the largest since 2008/09. Specialty rice from Thailand typically accounts for the bulk of U.S. imports of medium- and short-grain rice. This year Australia—an exporter of medium- and short-grain rice—has shipped 28,000 tons of brokens to the U.S. Italy usually supplies a small amount of Arborio rice to the U.S., which is typically used in risotto. The 2013/14 carryin remains estimated at 36.4 million cwt, 11 percent smaller than a year earlier.

The 2013/14 long-grain carryin remains estimated at 21.9 million cwt, 10 percent below a year earlier. Combined medium- and short-grain carryin remains estimated at 12.2 million cwt, 17 percent below a year earlier. Stocks of brokens are not specified by class.

Total U.S. rice supplies in 2013/14 are projected at 248.3 million cwt, 5 percent smaller than a year earlier and the smallest U.S. rice supplies since 2003/04. Long-grain total supplies remain forecast at 172.3 million cwt, 8 percent below a year earlier. Combined medium- and short-grain total supplies remain forecast at 73.7 million cwt, 2 percent above a year earlier.

Based on the March 31 Rice Stocks report, U.S. rice stocks on March 1 are estimated at 97.2 million cwt, down 15 percent from a year earlier, lower than expected and smaller than trade expectations. The year-to-year decline is largely due to a smaller crop and carryin. Long-grain stocks on March 1 are estimated at 59.5 million cwt, a decline of 19 percent from a year earlier. Nearly all long-grain stocks are in the South. Combined medium- and short-grain stocks on March 1 are estimated at 35.1 million cwt, down 3 percent from a year earlier, with all of the decline in the South. Most medium- and short-grain stocks are in California.

U.S. rice stocks on March 1 are estimated below a year earlier in all reported States except California and Texas, with Arkansas accounting for the bulk of the decline. At 42.1 million cwt, March 1 rice stocks in Arkansas were 31 percent below a year earlier. In Missouri, March 1 rice stocks are estimated at 3.3 million cwt, a decline of 30 percent from a year earlier. Louisiana’s March 1 rice stocks are estimated at 7.2 million cwt, 18 percent below a year earlier. Stocks of rice in Mississippi on March 1 are estimated at 2.2 million cwt, 9 percent below a year earlier. In contrast, California’s rice stocks on March 1 are estimated at 31.6 million cwt, up 6 percent from a year earlier, mostly due to a larger crop. In Texas, rice stocks on March 1 are estimated at 7.2 million cwt, up 12 percent from a year earlier.

U.S. 2013/14 Export Forecast Lowered to 97.0 Million Cwt

Total use of U.S. rice in 2013/14 is projected at 221.0 million cwt, up 1.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast but still 2 percent below a year earlier. This month, an upward revision in total domestic and residual use more than offset a lower export forecast. Long-grain total use remains projected at 156.0 million cwt, 6 percent below a year earlier, with exports accounting for all of the decline. Combined medium- and short-grain use is projected at 65.0 million cwt, up 1.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 8 percent above a year earlier, with both domestic use and exports projected higher in 2013/14. Total domestic and residual use of all rice in 2013/14 is projected at 124.0 million cwt, up 4.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 5 percent larger than a year earlier. The upward revision was largely based on the March 1 stocks that indicated higher than expected use from August 2013-February 2014. Long-grain domestic and residual use is projected at 91.0 million cwt, up 2.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 2 percent larger than a year earlier. Combined medium- and short-grain domestic and residual use is forecast at 33.0 million cwt, also up 2.0 million cwt from last month,14 percent higher than a year earlier, and the largest since 2007/08. Total exports in 2013/14 are projected at 97.0 million cwt, down 3.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 9 percent below a year earlier. These are the smallest U.S. rice exports since 2008/09. The downward revision is based on Census shipment data through February, sales and shipment data reported in the weekly U.S. Export Sales report through March 27, along with expectations regarding shipments and sales the rest of the 2013/14 market year. Through late March, U.S. sales and shipments to Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Costa Rica have been behind last year’s pace, a result of strong competition from exporters in South America and Vietnam. The annual decline in U.S. exports is based on smaller U.S. supplies, a record price difference over Asian exporters, and abundant exportable supplies in Asia and South America. Latin America (excluding Mexico) and Africa are expected to account for most of the decline in U.S. exports in 2013/14.

Long-grain exports are projected at 65.0 million cwt, down 2.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 15 percent below a year earlier. Through late March, combined shipments and outstanding sales to Central America, Haiti, Venezuela, and Sub-Saharan Africa were behind last year’s pace. The Western Hemisphere accounts for the bulk of U.S. long-grain rice exports, with much of this rice shipped as unmilled rough-rice.

Combined medium- and short-grain exports are projected at 32.0 million cwt, down 1.0 million cwt from last month but 8 percent above a year earlier. U.S. sales to Turkey have been especially strong this year. In contrast, U.S. sales and shipments to Northeast Asia are behind a year earlier. Northeast Asia is the largest regional market for U.S. medium- and short-grain exports, with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan accounting for almost all U.S. sales to this region. All purchases by these three countries are the result of annual WTO commitments. The Middle East and North Africa account for most of the remaining U.S. medium- and short-grain exports, with Egypt the main competitor for the United States in these two regions.

By type, U.S. rough-rice exports are projected at 33.0 million cwt, down 2.0 million cwt from the previous forecast and 3 percent below a year earlier. Through late March, U.S. rough-rice sales to Central and South America have trailed the pace of a year earlier. Latin America is expected to remain the top market for U.S. rough-rice exports, with Mexico, Central America, and northern South America the top buyers. Southern long-grain accounts for nearly all of the U.S. rough-rice shipments to the region. Turkey and Libya account for the bulk of U.S. medium- and short-grain rough-rice exports.

Combined milled- and brown-rice exports (on a rough basis) are projected at 64.0 million cwt, down 1.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 12 percent below a year earlier. The downward revision was largely based on slower than expected sales to Haiti. On an annual basis, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to account for the bulk of the decline in U.S. milled-rice exports in 2013/14, primarily due to stronger competition from lower priced Asian suppliers. U.S. ending stocks of all rice in 2013/14 are projected at 27.3 million cwt, down 1.0 million cwt from the March forecast and 25 percent below a year earlier. These are the lowest U.S. ending stocks since 2003/04. The stocks-to-use ratio is calculated at 12.4 percent, down from 16.2 percent in 2012/13 and also the smallest since 2003/04.

By class, the 2013/14 U.S. long-grain carryout remains projected at 16.3 million cwt, 26 percent smaller than a year earlier. The long-grain stocks-to-use ratio remains calculated at 10.4 percent, down from 13.2 percent a year earlier and the lowest since 2003/04.

The medium- and short-grain carryout is projected at 8.7 million cwt, down 1.0 million cwt from the March forecast and 29 percent below a year earlier. The medium/short-grain stocks-to-use ratio is calculated at 13.4 percent, down from 20.3 percent in 2012/13 and the lowest since 1998/99.

U.S. Long-grain Season-Average Farm Price Forecast Highest on Record

The 2013/14 season-average farm price (SAFP) range for U.S. long-grain rice remains projected at $15.30-$15.90 per cwt. This is the highest long-grain SAFP on record and compares with a 2012/13 SAFP of $14.50 per cwt. The higher expected prices are based on tighter U.S. supplies that are expected to more than offset the effects of larger exportable supplies in Asia.

The combined medium- and short-grain 2013/14 U.S. SAFP range was revised up $1.00 on both ends to $19.70-$20.30 per cwt. This compares with a 2012/13 SAFP of $17.40 per cwt and is the highest since the 2008/09 record of $24.80. This month’s upward revision was based on monthly reported cash prices and marketings through February and expectations regarding prices the remainder of the market year. The higher medium- and short-grain prices are being driven by severe drought in Northern California that has reduced water availability for planting the 2014/15 California crop, with medium- and short-grain plantings indicated to drop nearly 21 percent in 2014/15.

In late March, NASS reported a mid-March U.S. long-grain rough-rice price of $15.60 per cwt, up 20 cents from the revised February estimate. The mid-March long-grain price is the highest since December 2008. The February price was lowered 40 cents to $15.40 from a preliminary $15.80. For combined medium- and short-grain rice, the mid-March NASS price was reported at $22.20 per cwt, up $1.60 from the revised February price and the highest since September 2009. The February price was lowered 60 cents from the midmonth estimate to $19.60 per cwt.

International Outlook

Production Forecasts for 2013/14 Raised for Brazil, Pakistan, and Sub-Saharan Africa

Global rice production for 2013/14 is forecast at a record 475.6 million tons (milled basis), up 0.8 million tons from last month’s forecast and 1 percent larger than a year earlier. On a year-to-year basis, South Asia and Southeast Asia are projected to produce record rice crops, with near-record crops projected for East Asia, South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. These are the largest rice producing regions in the world.

The bumper global crop is the result of expanded area in 2013/14. At a record 160.8 million hectares, global rice area in 2013/14 is up 0.2 million hectares from last month’s forecast and 2.8 million hectares larger than a year earlier. Brazil, Madagascar, and Pakistan account for nearly all of this month’s upward revision in global rice area. Bangladesh, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan account for most of the year-to-year area increase. Much of this area expansion is driven by higher Government support prices. The average global yield, forecast at 4.41 tons per hectare (on a rough-rice basis), is about 1 percent below the 2012/13 record of 4.45 tons, mostly due to lower yields for China and India caused by adverse weather. These two countries account for more than half of global rice production.

There were several significant upward revisions to 2013/14 crop forecasts this month. Starting in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil’s 2013/14 production forecast was raised 0.3 million tons to 8.6 million tons based on information from the Government of Brazil indicating larger area and a record yield. The higher yield is largely due to a shift in area to the high-yielding irrigated Rio Grande Sol from the lower yielding central and northeastern areas, where much of the rice is non-irrigated. Production is up 8 percent from 2012/13. In nearby Guyana, the 2013/14 production forecast was raised 62,000 tons to 532,000 tons, an increase of 25 percent from a year earlier and the highest on record. Both area and yield were revised up to record levels. Guyana’s rice area has increased more than 50 percent since 2007/08. Guyana exports most of its rice, primarily to Caribbean markets. Honduras’ 2013/14 crop was increased 36,000 tons to a record 58,000 tons based on higher area and yield. Rice production in Honduras has nearly tripled since 2007/08 after a slow and delayed recovery from severe damage caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

In Asia, Pakistan’s 2014/15 rice production forecast was increased 200,000 tons to 6.6 million tons based on information from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Islamabad indicating more area and a slightly higher yield due to nutrient deposits from flooding. This is Pakistan’s largest crop since 2009/10 and represents a strong recovery from 3 consecutive years of flood-damaged crop. Vietnam’s 2013/14 production forecast was raised 100,000 tons to a record 27.8 million tons based on information from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Ho Chi Minh City indicating a larger winter-spring crop, a result of larger area. The winter-spring crop is Vietnam’s largest and highest yielding rice crop. Vietnam’s average rice yield for all rice is the highest on record. Finally, Afghanistan’s 2013/14 production was raised 50,000 tons to 510,000 tons based on information from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Kabul reporting a higher yield resulting from favorable weather. Both yield and production in Afghanistan are the highest on record.

There were several upward revisions in production forecasts for Sub-Saharan Africa. Tanzania’s 2013/14 production forecast was raised 231,000 tons to 1.22 million tons based on a much larger area forecast and a slightly higher yield. Sierra Leone’s 2013/14 crop was raised 98,000 tons to 791,000 tons based on a higher yield. Guinea’s 2013/14 crop forecast was increased 0.1 million tons to 1.36 million tons based on a higher yield. Crop forecasts for 2013/14 were also raised this month for Burkina, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, and Mozambique.

These upward revisions were partially offset by several reductions. In the Western Hemisphere, Ecuador’s 2013/14 crop forecast was reduced 60,000 tons to 790,000 tons based on information from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Quito reporting a weaker yield caused by rainy weather at harvest. In addition, the Dominican Republic’s 2013/14 production forecast was lowered 24,000 tons to 536,000 tons based on Ministry of Agriculture data reporting a weaker yield. In other regions, the EU’s 2013/14 production forecast was lowered 135,000 tons to 1.94 million tons based on smaller rice area in Italy, the largest rice producing country in the EU.

There were several downward 2013/14 production reductions in Sub-Saharan Africa this month. Senegal’s 2013/14 production forecast was lowered 152,000 tons to 290,000 tons based on lower area and yield estimates reported by the U.S. Agricultural Office in Dakar. Smaller 2013/14 downward production revisions were made this month for Benin, Liberia, Mali, Niger, and Uganda.

Global rice production in 2012/13 is estimated at 471.3 million tons, down 0.2 million tons from the previous estimate but still 1 percent larger than a year earlier. The bumper global crop was largely due to a record crop in China and near-record crops in India and Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s 2012/13 production was lowered 181,000 tons to 27.5 million tons based on a weaker Autumn crop yield that was caused by several typhoons. There were other significant production revisions this month, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sierra Leone’s 2012/13 crop estimate was reduced 0.3 million tons to 0.5 million tons based on a much lower yield. In Senegal, production was lowered 123,000 tons to 320,000 tons due to a smaller area forecast and a lower yield. Smaller downward revisions were made this month for Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Sudan. These downward revisions were partially offset by several upward revisions. First, Madagascar’s 2012/13 production estimate was raised 0.35 million tons to a near-record 2.9 million tons due to a larger area forecast. Second, Tanzania’s 2012/13 production estimate was increased 0.2 million tons to 1.2 million tons due to a higher yield. Tanzania’s area estimate was actually lowered. Smaller upward crop revisions were made this month for Burkina, Gambia, and Kenya.

Global rice consumption and residual use for 2013/14 is projected at a record 474.6 million tons, up 0.5 million tons from last month’s forecast and 1.5 percent above a year earlier. Consumption and residual use estimates were raised this month for Brazil, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. On a year-to-year basis, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the United States account for the bulk of the increase in consumption and residual use.

Global ending stocks for 2013/14 are projected at 111.2 million tons, down 0.5 million tons from the previous forecast but still 1.0 million tons above a year earlier. These are the largest ending stocks since 2001/02 and the seventh consecutive year of increasing global ending stocks. Ending stocks forecasts were lowered for Thailand and the United States but were raised for Bangladesh, China, and the EU. On a year-to-year basis, Thailand is projected to carry higher ending stocks in 2013/14, estimated at a record 14.1 million tons, accounting for most of the year-to-year global increase. Higher stocks in 2013/14 are also projected for Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines. The global stocks-to-use ratio for 2013/14 is calculated at 23.4 percent, virtually unchanged from a year earlier.

Burma, Pakistan, and Thailand Are Projected To Increase Exports in 2014

Total calendar year 2014 global rice trade is forecast at a record 40.9 million tons, nearly unchanged from the previous forecast but 2.2 million tons above 2013. Global trade in 2014 is mainly driven by record imports by Sub-Saharan Africa and continued strong purchases by China. Exportable supplies are abundant in Asia, with India again projected to be the largest rice exporter. In addition, Argentina, Burma, Guyana, Pakistan, and Thailand are projected to increase exports in 2014.

There were four 2014 export revisions this month. First, Pakistan’s 2014 export forecast was raised 0.5 million tons to a near-record 3.9 million tons based on larger supplies and recommendations from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Islamabad. These are the largest exports for Pakistan since the record 4.0 million tons shipped in 2010. The weaker trade for 2011-2013 was largely due to adverse weather that reduced Pakistan’s crops.

Second, Thailand’s 2014 export forecast was raised 0.5 million tons to 9.0 million tons based on recommendations from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Bangkok, recent and announced sales of Government-owned stocks, and the suspension of the 2013/14 off-season Rice Paddy Pledging Program. These are the largest exports for Thailand since a record 10.6 million tons were shipped in 2011. Since late 2011, the Government of Thailand has purchased rice from farmers as part of its Rice Paddy Pledging Program at prices well above market levels, making Thailand uncompetitive in many global markets and causing a large buildup in Government stocks. Third, Guyana’s 2014 export forecast was raised 55,000 tons to a record 400,000 tons based on a larger crop forecast. Guyana is expanding exports in the Caribbean market.

These upward revisions were nearly offset by a 1.0-million ton reduction in Vietnam’s 2014 export forecast to 6.5 million tons, 0.2 million tons below a year earlier. In addition, the U.S. 2014 export forecast was lowered 100,000 tons to 3.25 million tons based on a recent slowdown in sales and a lack of price competitiveness in many markets.

There were several 2014 import revisions this month. On the downside, China’s 2014 import forecast was lowered 200,000 tons to 3.2 million tons—still the second highest on record—based on recommendations from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Beijing. Second, Afghanistan’s 2014 imports were lowered 40,000 tons to 160,000 tons based on a larger crop. The remaining downward revisions are for Sub-Saharan Africa and include reductions for Angola, Guinea, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

These reductions were nearly offset by several upward revisions. First, the Philippines’ 2014 import forecast was raised 0.6 million tons to 2.0 million tons. Second, Bangladesh’s 2014 import forecast was raised 0.2 million tons to 0.5 million tons based on availability of lower priced Indian rice. Third, Vietnam’s 2014 import forecast was increased 100,000 tons to 200,000 tons based on recommendations from the U.S. Agricultural Office in Ho Chi Minh City. There were several upward revisions in 2014 import forecasts for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Benin, Madagascar, and South Africa.

The 2013 global trade estimates was raised less than 0.1 million to 38.7 million, down 3 percent from a year earlier. There were two significant 2013 export revisions this month. First, Vietnam’s 2013 exports were lowered 0.1 million tons to 6.7 million tons. Second, Pakistan’s 2013 exports were raised 100,000 tons to 3.6 million tons.

On the 2013 import side, Nigeria’s imports were lowered 0.2 million tons to 2.4 million tons; Senegal’s imports were reduced 0.15 million tons to 1.0 million tons; and Bangladesh’s 2013 imports were reduced 99,000 tons to 114,000 tons. There were several smaller 2013 import reductions, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. These reductions were largely offset by a 0.3-million ton increase in China’s imports to a record 3.5 million tons, 0.6 million tons above a year earlier. High domestic prices, lower global prices, and rising domestic use are behind China’s recent large increase in imports. There were smaller upward revisions in 2013 import estimates, nearly all in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prices for California’s Medium-Grain Milled-Rice Post Another Strong Increase

Prices for California milled rice for the U.S. market and the global market continue to rise, mostly over indications of reduced acreage this year resulting from a record drought in the State. California’s package-quality medium-grain rice (bulk) for domestic sales to processors and repackagers is quoted at $1,058 per ton for the week ending April 8, up $143 from March 4 and the highest since June 2009. Export prices (sacked, port of Oakland) for California milled rice were quoted at $1,175 per ton for the week ending April 8, up $50 from March 4. The price increases since February have been the most rapid for U.S. rice since the 2008 price spike.

U.S. prices for long-grain milled rice remain unchanged from a month earlier. For the week ending April 8, prices for high-quality U.S. Southern long-grain rice (No. 2, 4-percent brokens, bagged, free alongside vessel, U.S. Gulf port) were quoted at $584 per ton, unchanged from a month earlier. The U.S. price difference (adjusted to reflect a free-on-board vessel location) over Thailand’s 100-percent grade B is $195 per ton, the highest on record and well above the long-term average of around $50 per ton. Prices for U.S. long-grain rough-rice (bulk, fob vessel, New Orleans) remain quoted at $380 per ton for the week ending April 8, unchanged since late September.

Prices for higher grades of Thailand’s regular-milled white rice are down 4-6 percent from a month earlier, largely due to continued sales of Government stocks, with tenders for 0.8 million tons scheduled for this week. Prices for medium- and lower-quality grades of milled-rice shipments (excluding shipments that are 100 percent brokens) are down 1-2 percent from a month earlier. Prices for aromatic rice have decreased over the past month as well.

Prices for Thailand's high-quality, 100-percent Grade B (fob vessel, Bangkok) milled rice for export were quoted at $404 per ton for the week ending April 7, down $17 from the week ending March 10. Prices for Thailand’s 5-percent brokens were quoted at $382 per ton for the week ending April 7, down $24 from the week ending March 10.

Prices for Thailand's 5-percent parboiled rice were quoted at $413 per ton for the week ending April 7, down $27 from the week ending March 10. Prices for Thailand’s brokens are down nearly 2 percent. For the week ending April 7, prices for Thailand’s A-1 Super 100-percent brokens were quoted at $310 per ton, down $5 from the week ending March 10. Price quotes for Thailand’s premium jasmine rice, an aromatic variety, were quoted at $961 per ton for the week ending April 7, down $13 from the week ending March 10. All price quotes for Thailand’s rice are from the Weekly Rice Price Update, reported by the USDA Office in Bangkok.

Price quotes from Vietnam have decreased slightly over the past month as well. The pace of sales in the first quarter was slower than a year earlier. For the week ending April 8, prices for Vietnam’s 5-percent double-water-polished with 5-percent brokens were quoted at $385 per ton, down $15 from March 4. Thailand’s price quotes for 5-percent brokens are currently $3 per ton below quotes for Vietnam’s 5-percent double-water-polished milled rice, compared with having been $12 above Vietnam’s prices last month, making Thailand a more competitive seller. Thailand’s prices typically exceed prices for similar grades of rice from Vietnam by around $50 per ton. Price quotes for Vietnam, U.S. long-grain and U.S. medium-grain milled-rice prices, and U.S. rough-rice export prices are from the weekly Creed Rice Market Report. 

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