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USDA Rice Outlook


13 May 2014

USDA Rice Outlook - 13 May 2014USDA Rice Outlook - 13 May 2014


USDA Rice Outlook

U.S. 2014/15 Rice Production Projected at 213.0 Million Cwt

The 2014/15 U.S. rice crop is projected at 2013.0 million cwt, a 12-percent increase from a year earlier, a result of expanded plantings. The 2014/15 yield is projected to be 3 percent lower. Imports are unchanged from 2013/14, while beginning stocks are down 20 percent from a year earlier. On balance, total supplies in 2014/15 are projected to be 6 percent larger than in 2013/14.

Total use of U.S. rice in 2014/15 is projected at 230.0 million cwt, up 5 percent from a year earlier. Total domestic and residual use is projected at 128.0 million cwt, up 3 percent from a year earlier. Total exports are projected at 102 million cwt, an increase of 7 percent from 2013/14. These supply and use forecasts result in an ending stocks forecast of 34.3 million, an increase of 17 percent from 2013/14.

The 2014/15 season-average farm price (SAFP) range for U.S. long-grain rice is projected at $13.50-$14.50 per cwt, down from a revised $15.20-$15.80 per cwt in 2013/14 and the lowest since 2011/12. The combined medium- and short-grain 2014/15 U.S. SAFP range is projected at $18.50-$19.50 per cwt, up from a revised $17.70-$18.30 per cwt for 2013/14.

Global rice production for 2014/15 is forecast at a record 480.7 million tons (milled basis), up 1 percent from a year earlier. Record production is projected for Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Global rice consumption and residual use in 2014/15 is projected at a record 482.2 million tons, an increase of 1.5 percent from a year earlier. Global ending stocks for 2014/15 are projected at 109.8 million tons, down about 1 percent from a year earlier.

Total calendar year 2015 global rice trade is forecast at a record 41.3 million tons, up 1 percent from 2014. Thailand, the United States, Egypt, and Vietnam are projected to export more rice in 2015, while Australia, Brazil, and India are projected to export less. China and Nigeria are projected to increase rice imports in 2015, while Indonesia and the Philippines are expected to import less rice.

Prices for higher grades of Thailand’s regular-milled white rice are down 1-2 percent from a month earlier, largely due to continued sales of Government stocks. Price quotes from Vietnam have increased over the past month. U.S. prices for long-grain milled rice remain unchanged from a month earlier. Prices for California milled rice for the U.S. market and the global market are unchanged from a month earlier, after sharply rising during the winter and early spring due to concerns over water availability for the 2014 crop.

Domestic Outlook

U.S. 2014/15 Rice Crop Projected at 213.0 Million Cwt

The 2014/15 U.S. rice crop is projected at 213.0 million cwt (rough-basis), up 12 percent from a year earlier and the largest since 2010/11. The 23.1-million cwt projected increase in crop size is the result of a 16-percent expansion in planted area to 2.89 million acres. Area is intended to be higher in 2014/15 in all reported States except California and Texas, with Arkansas—the largest rice-growing State—accounting for the bulk of the 388,000-acre intended increase in planted area.

The 2014/15 area estimate is based on the March Prospective Plantings report, which asked producers in early March how much rice acreage they intended to plant. Actual plantings often vary from intended plantings. The first survey of 2014/15 actual plantings will be reported in the June 30 Acreage report.

The 2014/15 average yield is projected at 7,468 pounds per acre, down 3 percent from a year earlier but still the second highest on record. The yield forecast is based on 1990-2013 trend yields by class and reflects the smaller than normal share of the total U.S. crop being harvested in California, which consistently achieves the highest yields among U.S. rice growing States. The first survey of actual 2014/15 yields for all rice and by State will be released in the August Crop Production report.

By class, the 2014/15 U.S. long-grain crop is projected at 161.0 million cwt, an increase of 22 percent from a year earlier and the largest since 2010/11. The increase is largely due to an expansion in rice area in the Delta, a result of higher expected returns to rice than alternative crops such as corn and soybeans, and to a return of around 300,000 acres of rice that was not planted in 2013/14 due to adverse weather early in the season.

Combined medium- and short-grain production in 2014/15 is projected at 52.0 million cwt, a decline of 10 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 2008/09. This year’s smaller medium- and short-grain production is the result of an intended 21-percent decline in combined medium- and short-grain plantings in California due to drought and low reservoir levels. California typically supplies 70 percent of U.S. medium- and short-grain production. In contrast, the South indicated a 39-percent increase in combined medium- and short-grain plantings, a result of an expected smaller California crop and rising prices.

2014/15 U.S. Rice Crop Progress Remains Slower than Normal

Despite substantial progress over the past week, the pace of planting of the 2014/15 U.S. crop remains behind normal in most parts of the country, especially in the South, where an abnormally cool, wet spring has delayed planting. For the week ending May 4, 57 percent of the U.S. rice crop was planted, well behind the 5-year average of 65 percent but up 12 percentage points from a week earlier. In the Delta, Arkansas’ 2014/15 rice crop was reported 64 percent planted by May 4, down slightly from a 5-year average of 69 percent but well ahead of 47 percent a week earlier. Mississippi’s 2014/15 crop was reported 51 percent planted by May 4, well behind the State’s 5-year average of 67 percent but more than twice the pace  reported a week earlier. The Missouri crop was reported 63 percent planted by May 4, behind the State’s 5-year average of 63 percent but up 10 percentage points from a week earlier.

Progress was still behind normal in parts of the Gulf Coast as well. In Texas, 85 percent of the crop was reported planted by May 4, behind the State’s 5-year average of 94 percent and up only 6 percentage points from a week earlier. At 93 percent planted by May 4, Louisiana’s 2014/15 planting progress was 1 percentage point ahead the State’s 5-year average.Progress is behind normal in California as well as on the Gulf Coast and in the Delta. For the week ending May 4, 12 percent of the 2014/15 California crop was reported planted, behind the State’s 5-year average of 23 percent. In contrast to most of the South, the weather in California has been favorable to rice planting over the past week.

Crop emergence is behind normal as well. For the week ending May 4, 39 percent of the 2014/15 U.S. rice crop had emerged, behind the U.S. 5-year average of 47 percent. In Arkansas, 41 percent of the 2014/15 rice crop had emerged by May 4, behind the 5-year average of 49 percent. Just 27 percent Mississippi’s 2014/15 rice crop had emerged by May 4, well behind the State’s 5-year average of 51 percent. Missouri’s 2014/15 rice crop was reported 17-percent emerged by May 4, also well behind the 5-year average of 40 percent.

On the Gulf Coast, Louisiana’s 2014/15 rice crop was reported 83-percent emerged by May 4, slightly ahead of its 5-year average of 81 percent. In Texas, 75 percent of 2014/15 rice crop was reported emerged by May 4, 5-percentage points behind its 5-year average. In California, 3 percent of the 2014/15 rice crop had emerged by May 4, compared with a 5-year average of 5 percent.

U.S. Rice Supplies in 2014/15 Projected To Increase 6 Percent

Total U.S. supplies of rice in 2014/15 are projected at 264.3 million cwt, up 6 percent from a year earlier and the largest since 2010/11. In 2014/15, a larger crop and steady imports are projected to more than offset a much smaller carryin. By class, long-grain total supplies are projected at 197.3 million cwt, an increase of almost 15 percent from a year earlier and the largest since 2010/11. The increase is the result of a much larger crop. In contrast, medium- and short-grain total supplies are projected at 64.7 million cwt, down 12 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 2008/09, a result of a smaller crop and weaker imports.

At 29.3 million cwt, the 2014/15 all rice carryin is almost 20 percent smaller than a year earlier and the smallest since 2004/05. The long-grain carryin of 17.3 million cwt is 21 percent smaller than a year earlier. The medium- and short-grain carryin is projected at 9.7 million cwt, also down 21 percent from a year earlier.

Total U.S. rice imports in 2014/15 are projected at 22.0 million cwt, unchanged from a year earlier and second only to the 2007/08 record of 23.9 million cwt.

Long-grain imports are projected at 19.0 million cwt, up 3 percent from a year earlier and the highest on record. Thailand is expected to again supply more than 70 percent of U.S. long-grain imports, shipping its premium jasmine rice, an aromatic, almost exclusively. Basmati rice from India and Pakistan supply much of the remaining U.S. long-grain rice imports.

Combined medium- and short-grain rice imports are projected at 3.0 million cwt, down 14 percent from a year earlier but slightly above the 2009/10-2012/13 average. In 2013/14, the U.S. imported nearly 1.0 million cwt of broken rice kernels from Australia, a major exporter of medium- and short-grain rice. The U.S. does not typically import brokens from Australia. Specialty rice from Thailand accounts for the bulk of U.S. imports of medium- and short-grain rice.

U.S. 2014/15 Exports Are Forecast at 102.0 Million Cwt

Total use of U.S. rice in 2014/15 is projected at 230.0 million cwt, up 5 percent from a year earlier. Both total domestic use (including a residual component) and exports are projected to be higher in 2014/15. Total long-grain use in 2014/15 is projected at 173.0 million cwt, an increase of 12 percent from a year earlier and the highest since 2010/11. For combined medium- and short-grain rice, total use is projected at 57.0 million cwt, a decline of 11 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 2008/09.

Total domestic and residual use of all rice in 2014/15 is projected at 128.0 million cwt, up 4.0 million cwt from a year earlier. The increase is based on a larger U.S. crop and a slightly larger population. Long-grain domestic and residual use is projected at 101.0 million cwt, up 11 percent from a year earlier and the second highest on record. Combined medium- and short-grain domestic and residual use is forecast at 27.0 million cwt, down 18 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 1988/89. The decline is based on smaller supplies.

Total exports in 2013/14 are projected at 102.0 million cwt, up 7.0 million cwt from a year earlier. The increase in U.S. exports is based on larger supplies and expectations of more competitive U.S. prices, with U.S. sales likely to be larger to the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, two key markets where the U.S. competes with Asian exporters.

Long-grain U.S. exports are projected at 72.0 million cwt, an increase of 12.5 percent from a year earlier. The Western Hemisphere, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa are the top U.S. markets for long-grain rice. Combined medium- and short-grain U.S. exports are projected at 30.0 million cwt, a decline of 3 percent from a year earlier and the smallest since 2008/89. The smaller export forecast is based on smaller U.S. supplies and higher prices. Northeast Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa are the major markets for U.S. medium- and short-grain rice.

By type, U.S. rough-rice exports are projected at 34.0 million cwt, up 1.0 million cwt from a year earlier. Long-grain accounts for the bulk of U.S. rough-rice exports. Latin America is expected to remain the top market for U.S. rough-rice, with Mexico and Central 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 68.0 million cwt, up 6.0 million cwt from a year earlier. The increase is based on larger U.S. supplies and expectations of more competitive prices. Northeast Asia, the Middle East, Haiti, Canada, and Sub-Saharan Africa are the largest export markets for U.S. milled rice exports.

U.S. ending stocks of all rice in 2014/15 are projected at 34.3 million cwt, up 17 percent from a year earlier. The stocks-to-use ratio is calculated at 14.9 percent, up from 13.4 percent in 2013/14. By class, the 2014/15 U.S. long-grain carryout is projected at 24.3 million cwt, an increase of almost 41 percent from a year earlier. The long-grain stocks-to-use ratio is calculated at 14.0 percent, up from 11 percent in 2013/14. Expectations of ending stocks of this level will likely pressure prices lower during the market year.

The medium- and short-grain carryout is projected at 7.7 million cwt, down 2.0 million cwt from a year earlier. The medium/short-grain stocks-to-use ratio is calculated at 13.5 percent, down from 15.1 percent in 2013/14. Both ending stocks and the stocks-to-use ratio for medium- and short-grain rice are the lowest since 1998/99. Expectations of a small carryout are expected to push prices higher in 2014/15.

2013/14 U.S. Export Forecast Was Lowered to 95.0 Million Cwt

There were no revisions to the 2013/14 supply side estimates this month. On the use side, the 2013/14 U.S. export forecast was lowered 2.0 million cwt to 95.0 million cwt based on shipment data reported the U.S. Census Bureau through March, shipment and sales data reported in the weekly U.S. Export Sales through May 1, and expectations regarding shipments the remainder of the market year. Sales and shipments have been weaker than expected to Central America, Northeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Combined milled- and brown-rice exports (on a rough-rice basis) are projected at 62.0 million cwt, down 2.0 million cwt from last month’s forecast and 15 percent below a year earlier. Both long-grain and medium- and short-grain export forecasts were lowered 1.0 million cwt, to 64.0 million cwt and 31.0 million cwt, respectively.

The reduced 2013/14 U.S. export forecast raised total U.S. ending rice stocks 2.0 million cwt to 29.3 million cwt. Both the long-grain and medium- and short-grain ending stocks forecasts were increased 1.0 million cwt this month.

U.S. Long-grain Season-Average Farm Price Projected To Be Lower in 2014/15

The 2014/15 season-average farm price (SAFP) range for U.S. long-grain rice is projected at $13.50-$14.50 per cwt, down from a revised $15.20-$15.80 per cwt in 2013/14 and the lowest since 2011/12. The lower expected U.S. SAFP in 2014/15 is based on larger U.S. supplies and expected lower global trading prices. The high- and low-end of the 2013/14 SAFP was lowered 10 cents this month based on monthly cash prices and marketings through April and expectations of prices and marketings the remainder of the market year.

The combined medium- and short-grain 2014/15 U.S. SAFP range is projected at $18.50-$19.50 per cwt, compared with a revised $17.70-$18.30 per cwt for 2013/14. The 2013/14 SAFP was lowered $2.00 per cwt on both ends based on monthly cash prices and marketings through April and expectations of prices and marketings the remainder of the market year. The higher medium- and short-grain SAFP in 2014/15 is largely due to the smaller projected U.S. medium- and short-grain crop, a result of severe drought and low water levels in reservoirs in California.

In late April, NASS reported a mid-April U.S. long-grain rough-rice price of $16.00 per cwt, up 50 cents from the revised March estimate. The mid-April long-grain price is the highest since December 2008. The March price was lowered 10 cents to $15.50 from a preliminary $15.60. For combined medium- and short-grain rice, the mid-April NASS price was reported at $18.10 per cwt, down 30 cents from the revised March price. The March price was lowered $2.80 cents from the midmonth estimate to $18.40 per cwt. 

International Outlook 

Global Rice Production for 2014/15 Forecast To Be Record High

Global rice production for 2014/15 is forecast at a record 480.7 million tons (milled basis), up 1 percent from a year earlier. Record production is projected for East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to harvest a near-record crop. This is the fifth consecutive year of increasing global rice production. All global production forecasts are based on the assumption of normal weather.

The record global crop in 2014/15 is the result of expanded area. At a record 161.6 million hectares, global rice area in 2014/15 is up 0.7 million hectares from a year earlier. The average global yield, forecast at 4.44 tons per hectare (on a rough-rice basis), is up about 1 percent from 2013/14 and just fractionally below the 2012/13 record of 4.45 tons.

East Asia remains the largest rice producing region in the world and is forecast to produce a record 158.8 million tons of rice in 2014/15. China, the world’s largest rice growing country, is projected to harvest a record 144.0-million ton crop, a result of both expanded area and a near-record yield. This is the seventh consecutive year of expanding rice area in China, partly a response to higher Government support prices. In contrast, Japan’s 2014/15 production is projected to decline about 2 percent to 7.7 million tons based on smaller area and a decrease to a more typical yield. Both area and production have declined for about four decades in Japan, a response to Government programs to shift land away from rice production. Crops are also projected to be smaller in 2014/15 in North and South Korea as yields return to more normal levels. Taiwan’s production is projected to remain unchanged in 2014/15.

South Asia’s record production of 153.9 million tons is up less than 1 percent from 2013/14, with India accounting for the bulk of the increase. At a record 106.0 million tons, India’s 2014/15 rice production is up 1 percent from a year earlier, a result of a 0.5-million hectare increase in area to 44.0 million hectares. Bangladesh is projected to harvest a record 34.8 million tons of rice in 2014/15, slightly above a year earlier, a result of record area. Pakistan’s 2014/15 projected crop of 6.7 million tons is up 1.5 percent above 2013/14 production, based on a slightly higher yield. This is the highest area and production for Pakistan since 2009/10. Nepal’s 2014/15 production is projected be 6 percent below the year-earlier record based on a more normal yield. Sri Lanka’s production is projected slightly larger in 2014/15 due to a small area expansion. Southeast Asia is projected to harvest a record 118.6 million tons in 2014/15, up 1 percent from a year earlier. The region includes some of the largest rice exporters and importers in the world. Among the region’s exporters, Thailand is projected to produce 20.5 million tons of rice in 2014/15, unchanged from the year-earlier record. Vietnam’s 2014/15 production is forecast at 27.8 million cwt, also unchanged from the earlier record. Neither of these two major exporters is expected to significantly expand area in the near term. Burma’s expected production of 12.15 million tons is the result of both record area and a record yield. At 4.9 million tons, Cambodia’s 2014/15 production is the highest on record, with both area and yield record high. Since 2003/04, Cambodia’s rice production has rebounded from four decades of weak output resulting from political instability. Both Burma and Cambodia have the ability to expand rice production.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are major rice importers. Indonesia’s 2014/15 rice production is forecast at 37.7 million tons, up 1 percent from a year earlier and the second highest on record. Indonesia has little ability to expand rice area on Java, and yields elsewhere in the country are much lower than on Java. At a record 12.2 million tons, rice production in the Philippines is up nearly 3 percent from a year earlier, with both area and yield projected record high. Over the past decade the Philippines have raised yields mostly by adopting hybrid varieties. A record yield is projected to raise Malaysia’s production nearly 3 percent to a record 1.8 million tons.

Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to harvest a near-record 13.1 million tons of rice in 2014/15, an increase of 2 percent from a year earlier. This is a result of a higher yield; planted area is actually lower. Madagascar is currently the largest producer in the region and is projected to harvest 2.9 million tons, up 25 percent from last year’s flood-damaged crop. The larger crop is the result of a higher yield; area is unchanged from 2013/14 and is below the 2010/11 record. Nigeria’s 2014/15 production is projected at 2.55 million tons, down 8 percent from a year earlier due to smaller area. At 1.25 million tons, Tanzania’s 2014/15 rice production is up almost 3 percent from a year earlier due to a higher yield.

South America’s 2014/15 production is projected at 16.6 million tons, down less than 1 percent from a year earlier. The region includes both mid-size importers and exporters. Among the exporters, Brazil—the largest non-Asian rice producing country—is projected to harvest 8.5 million tons of rice in 2014/15, down 1 percent from 2013/14 due to a slight rotation of some rice to other crops. Brazil is both a mid-sized importer and exporter of rice. Uruguay, the region’s largest rice exporter, is projected to harvest 1.02 million tons of rice in 2014/15, nearly unchanged from 2013/14. In nearby Argentina, 2014/15 production is projected at 1.01 million tons, also up fractionally from a year earlier. Paraguay’s 2014/15 production of 0.3 million tons is 6 percent above 2013/14 and the highest on record. Production and area have risen sharply in Paraguay since 2008/09. Finally, Guyana’s 2014/15 production is projected at a record 0.54 million tons, fractionally above a year earlier. Much like Paraguay, Guyana has rapidly increased rice area and production since 2008/09. Except for Brazil, these countries grow rice primarily to export it.

Among the region’s importers, Venezuela’s 2014/15 projected crop of 390,000 tons is fractionally above 2013/14, but well below levels achieved prior to 2010/11. At 1.3 million tons, Colombia’s 2014/15 production forecast is virtually unchanged from 2013/14, but, like that of nearby Venezuela, is well below levels achieved prior to 2010/11. Weather, Government policies, and input availabilities have hindered rice production in these two countries. Peru is projected to harvest a near-record 2.1 million tons, almost 3 percent below the year-earlier record. Ecuador is projected to harvest 0.8 million tons of rice in 2014/15, nearly unchanged from a year earlier but well below the record of almost 1.0 million tons achieved in 2004/05. Elsewhere in the world, Egypt is projected to harvest a record 4.9 million tons of rice in 2014/15, slightly above a year earlier, a result of record area. Australia’s 2014/15 production is projected to increase 6 percent to 690,000 tons based on a return to a normal yield. Both Egypt and Australia are major exporters of medium- and short-grain rice and they typically achieve the highest yields in the world. EU production is projected to increase 1 percent to 1.96 million tons based on a slightly higher yield. Finally, the 2014/15 U.S. crop of 6.8 million tons is 11 percent above a year earlier, a result of an area expansion.

There were three significant production revisions for 2013/14. First, Cambodia’s 2013/14 production estimate was lowered 175,000 tons to 4.73 million tons based on larger than expected flood losses to the main season harvest and a smaller dry season area than last year. Second, Nepal’s 2013/14 production was raised 0.3 million tons to a record 3.3 million tons based on a higher yield. Finally, the Philippines’ 2013/14 production forecast was raised 0.25 million tons to 11.9 million tons based on Government data indicating higher area from January-June 2014.

Global rice consumption and residual use in 2014/15 is projected at a record 482.2 million tons, an increase of 1.5 percent from a year earlier and 1.5 million tons larger than 2014/15 production. Bangladesh, Brazil, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States account for the bulk of the projected increase in global consumption and residual use. Global ending stocks for 2014/15 are projected at 109.8 million tons, down about 1 percent from a year earlier. China and India account for most of the expected decline in global ending stocks. In contrast, Thailand’s ending stocks are projected to remain at a near-record high and U.S. ending are projected to increase 16 percent. The global stocks-to-use ratio for 2013/14 is calculated at 23.8 percent, slightly above a year earlier.

Global Rice Trade in 2015 Is Projected To Be the Highest on Record

Total calendar year 2015 global rice trade is forecast at a record 41.3 million tons, up 1 percent from 2014. The increased trade level is largely based on record imports by Sub-Saharan Africa and China, slightly lower global trading prices, and abundant exportable supplies in Asia and the Western Hemisphere.

Thailand is projected to be the largest rice exporter in 2015, shipping 10.0 million tons of rice, up 1.0 million from this year and the highest since the record 10.6 million tons shipped in 2011. The projected increase is based on more competitive prices and abundant supplies. Since late 2011, Thailand’s paddy pledging scheme—whereby the Government purchased rice at prices well above market levels—made Thailand uncompetitive in many global markets. This program has been suspended for the 2013/14 dry-season crop that began harvest in March, and the Government has been selling its previously purchased stocks of rice since January. India is projected to export 9.0 million tons of rice in 2015, down 1.0 million tons from 2014. The decline is based on tighter supplies and more competition from Thailand. For 2012-2014, India was the largest rice exporting country.

Vietnam’s 2015 rice exports are projected at 6.7 million tons, up 3 percent from a year earlier, a result of a record crop and slow growth in consumption. Pakistan is projected to export a near-record 3.9 million tons of rice in 2015, unchanged from a year earlier, a result of a bumper crop. U.S. rice exports are projected to increase  1.5 percent to 3.25 million tons based on larger supplies and expectations of more competitive prices. These five countries are the largest rice exporters and account for about 80 percent of shipments.

In South America, Uruguay is projected to export 950,000 tons of rice in 2015, up 50,000 tons from this year. Nearby Argentina is projected to export 600,000 tons of rice in 2015, unchanged from 2014. Paraguay is projected to export 260,000 tons of rice in 2015, up slightly from this year. All three countries export the bulk of their crop. Brazil’s exports are projected to drop 50,000 tons to 800,000 tons in 2015, a result of a slightly smaller crop. Despite the decline, Brazil is projected to remain a net rice exporter in 2015. Guyana is projected to export 400,000 tons of rice in 2015, unchanged from the 2014 record and the result of steady production expansion.

Elsewhere, Egypt is projected to export 875,000 tons of rice in 2015, an increase of 75,000 tons over this year, a result of a record crop and an expected lifting of the export ban. Australia is projected to ship 450,000 tons of rice in 2015, down 50,000 from this year, a result of tighter supplies. Both countries are major exporters of medium- and short-grain rice.

On the import side, starting with East Asia, China is projected to import a record 3.7 million tons of rice in 2015, up 0.5 million tons from 2014. The increase is based on stronger demand, slight production growth, and much lower prices for imports. Imports by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in 2015 are projected to be virtually unchanged from this year. Purchases by these three countries are the result of WTO commitments.

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s 2015 imports are projected to decline 0.5 million tons to 1.0 million tons based on adequate supplies. The Philippines’ 2015 imports are projected to decline 0.2 million tons to 1.6 million tons, also based on adequate supplies. Malaysia’s 2015 imports are projected to remain unchanged from 2014 at a record 1.1 million tons. South Asia’s rice imports are projected to decline 20 percent to 0.74 million tons. The region currently has no major importer.

Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to import a record 12.75 million tons of rice in 2015, up about 1 percent from a year earlier. Nigeria is the largest importer in the region and the second largest global buyer of rice. In 2015, Nigeria is projected to import a record 3.5 million tons of rice, up 17 percent from a year earlier, a result of a smaller crop and rising demand. Cote d’Ivoire is projected to import 1.2 million tons of rice in 2015, up 4 percent from this year. Senegal’s 2015 imports are projected at 1.1 million tons, unchanged from this year. Consumption growth outpaces production in both Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal. South Africa is projected to import 1.1 million tons of rice in 2015, unchanged from the year-earlier record. South Africa does not grow rice.

In the Western Hemisphere, Brazil and the United States remain the largest importers, although both arenet exporters. Brazil’s 2015 imports are projected at 0.7 million tons, unchanged from 2014. Brazil’s imports have shown no long-term growth over the past decade. U.S. rice imports in 2015 are projected at 0.7 million tons in 2015, unchanged from this year’s record. U.S. rice imports have more than doubled since 2000. Cuba is the third largest import market in the region, projected to import 450,000 tons of rice in 2015, unchanged from 2014. Haiti is projected to import a near-record 410,000 tons of rice in 2015, nearly unchanged from 2013 and 2014.

In the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are all projected to increase imports in 2015. Imports account for about three-fourths of the region’s rice consumption. EU rice imports are projected to increase 4 percent to 1.4 million tons. Rice production in the EU—mostly in Italy and Spain—remains below the 2012/13 level.

There were only small revisions for 2014 global trade. On the export side, the U.S. forecast was lowered 50,000 tons to 3.2 million tons based on a recent slowdown in sales. Also, Egypt’s 2014 export forecast was lowered 50,000 tons to 800,000 tons based on recommendations for the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Cairo. On the import side, Nepal’s 2014 imports were lowered 0.1 million tons to 0.25 million based on a larger crop.Thailand’s 2014 imports were lowered to 0.3 million tons from 0.6 million based on recommendations from the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Bangkok indicating less border trade.

Thailand’s Prices Fall on Continued Government Sales; Vietnam’s Prices Rise

Prices for higher grades of Thailand’s regular-milled white rice are down 1-2 percent from a month earlier, largely due to continued sales of Government stocks. Prices for medium- and lower-quality grades of milled-rice shipments are down 1-3 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 $399 per ton for the week ending May 5, down $5 from the week ending April 7. Prices for Thailand’s 5-percent brokens were quoted at $379 per ton for the week ending May 5, down $3 from the week ending April 7. Prices for Thailand's 5-percent parboiled rice were quoted at $404 per ton for the week ending May 5, down $9 from the week ending April 7.

Prices for Thailand’s brokens are down 1 percent. For the week ending May 5, prices for Thailand’s A-1 Super 100-percent brokens were quoted at $307 per ton, down $3 from the week ending April 7. Price quotes for Thailand’s premium jasmine rice, an aromatic variety, were quoted at $959 per ton for the week ending May 5, down $2 from the week ending April 7. 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 increased over the past month. For the week ending May 6, prices for Vietnam’s 5-percent double-water-polished with 5-percent brokens were quoted at $395 per ton, up $10 from April 8. Thailand’s price quotes for 5-percent brokens are currently $16 per ton below quotes for Vietnam’s 5- percent double-water-polished milled rice, making Thailand a competitive seller. Thailand’s prices typically exceed prices for similar grades of rice from Vietnam by around $50 per ton. 

U.S. prices for long-grain milled rice remain unchanged from a month earlier. For the week ending May 6, 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 $200 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 May 6, unchanged since late September.

Prices for California milled rice for the U.S. market and the global market are unchanged from a month earlier, after sharply rising during the winter and early spring due to concerns over water availability for the 2014 crop. California’s package-quality medium-grain rice (bulk) for domestic sales to processors and repackagers remains quoted at $1,058 per ton for the week ending May 6, unchanged since mid-March and the highest since June 2009. Export prices (sacked, port of Oakland) for California milled rice remain quoted at $1,175 per ton for the week ending May 6, also unchanged from mid-March. Price quotes for Vietnam, U.S. long- and medium-grain milled-rice prices, and U.S. rough-rice export prices are from the weekly Creed Rice Market Report. 

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