Global Rice Stocks Expand as Production Exceeds Consumption

Global rice stocks are forecast to expand on record production, with 2016/17 ending stocks now forecast at the highest level in over a dozen years. Production is set to hit a record 483 million tons, up over 11 million tons from the prior year. Top producers China and India are up 1 and 2 percent, respectively. In addition, production for second-largest exporter Thailand is forecast up 18 percent, while the U.S. crop is up 23 percent.

Amid the contraction in rice production for 2015/16, some food and feed consumption shifted to wheat, given its greater abundance and lower prices. Rice consumption dropped significantly, particularly in India and Thailand. Although global consumption is forecast up, record production will lead to a build-up of stocks in the current year.

The location of the stocks is significant, as they are not set to expand in all countries. Thai stocks are forecast at their lowest level in 6 years, as the Thai Government remains committed to offloading the burdensome stocks accumulated under the previous regime. Likewise, Indian stocks are forecast to decline modestly in the coming year, as consumption is expected to rebound and exports will remain robust. In contrast, with a large crop, U.S. stocks are forecast at the highest level since the mid-1980s. Overshadowing all of this is the situation in China, the world's largest producer, consumer, and importer. With consumption relatively flat and policies that favor expanded production, China is forecast to hold nearly 60 percent of global stocks by the end of 2016/17.

OVERVIEW

For 2016/17, global production is raised this month to a new record, mostly on a larger crop in Thailand. Imports are up slightly, and larger exports for India and Thailand more than offset reductions for Vietnam, Brazil, and the United States. Consumption is lower, but still higher than the prior year. Stocks are raised on adjustments to Thailand, China, Vietnam, and Egypt.

PRICES

Despite initial concerns about impacts from lower production in 2015/16, prices have recently been pressured lower on upcoming harvests and weak demand from traditionally large importers. Over the past month, Thai prices have declined $13 to $378/ton as supplies of new-crop have gradually started to enter the market. Indian quotes slid $5 to $350/ton on anticipation of a large new crop. Pakistani quotes are down $15 to $325/ton on pressure of a new harvest. Vietnamese quotes are down $10 to $337/ton on lighter trade to date.

SELECTED TRADE CHANGES for 2017

  • Brazil exports are lowered 150,000 tons to 650,000 on reduced supplies.
  • Benin imports are raised 125,000 tons to 425,000 on continued growth in consumption.
  • Egypt exports are up 100,000 tons to 300,000 on larger supplies. Imports soar 265,000 tons to 300,000 to reflect anticipated purchases from India to supplement government reserves.
  • India exports are boosted 500,000 tons to 10.0 million on ample supplies and likely additional shipments to Egypt.
  • Philippines imports are lowered 100,000 tons to 1.4 million on more modest import demand.
  • Thailand exports are raised 500,000 tons to 9.5 million on increased competitiveness with improved crop prospects and adequate supplies.
  • United States exports are down 100,000 tons to 3.6 million on tepid demand from Middle Eastern markets and increased competition from other medium-grain suppliers.
  • Vietnam exports are cut 600,000 tons to 5.8 million on reduced competitiveness relative to other major exporters.

SELECTED TRADE CHANGES for 2016 – based on trade data

  • Cambodia exports are raised 100,000 tons to 1.0 million.
  • China imports are cut 200,000 tons to 4.8 million.
  • Indonesia imports are lowered by 300,000 tons to 1.2 million.
  • India exports are up 500,000 tons to 10.5 million.
  • Iraq imports are down 100,000 tons to 950,000.
  • Nepal imports are trimmed 50,000 tons to 450,000.
  • Nigeria imports are lowered 100,000 tons to 2.0 million.
  • Pakistan exports are cut 300,000 tons to 4.2 million.
  • Philippines imports are down 400,000 tons to 1.1 million.
  • Thailand exports are lowered 500,000 tons to 9.2 million.
  • Vietnam exports are slashed 600,000 tons to 5.4 million.