OVERVIEW

For 2016/17, global rice production is raised to a new record with larger crops in Colombia, South Korea, and Japan. Imports are lowered, particularly for Colombia and Vietnam. Exports are reduced for Burma and Cambodia. With consumption rising only slightly, stocks are forecast to grow.

Cuba Rice Imports

Rice is a staple food in Cuba, with one of the highest per-capita consumption rates in the Western Hemisphere. Consumption is forecast at nearly 1.0 million tons in 2016/17. The Cuban government has committed to reduce its reliance on imports and support domestic production. Nonetheless, high costs have limited growth in production, and imports remain a critical source of more than half of its supplies.

Over the past decade, most imports have come from Asia, with Vietnam supplying the overwhelming majority due to low prices and favorable credit terms. More recently, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay have gained market share, an indication of improved prospects for Western Hemisphere suppliers. For the first 9 months of 2016, almost a third of imports have come from these South American countries. Although the United States exported rice to Cuba from 2002 to 2008, reaching a high of 175,000 MT in 2004, financial and other restrictions remain key barriers to access.

PRICES

With rice crops recently harvested in much of the Northern Hemisphere and lackluster global import demand, prices have trended lower for many major exporters. The decline has been most dramatic over the past month for Thailand, particularly for fragrant rice. With a large new fragrant rice crop and sufficient stocks, prices in the past month have plummeted over 15 percent, narrowing the premium considerably over regular white rice. Moreover, Thai fragrant rice is at the lowest price in nearly a decade. In the context of rapidly declining prices, the Thai government recently set intervention prices and approved additional direct payments for harvest and post-harvest handling costs.

SELECTED TRADE CHANGES for 2017

  • Burma exports are cut 200,000 tons to 1.5 million on expected continuation of tight border controls with China.
  • Colombia imports are lowered 150,000 tons to 170,000 on higher production.
  • Vietnam imports are trimmed 100,000 tons to 300,000 on reduced border trade with Cambodia

SELECTED TRADE CHANGES for 2016 – based on trade data

  • Burma exports are lowered 200,000 tons to 1.2 million.
  • Cambodia exports are reduced 100,000 tons to 900,000.
  • China imports are down 200,000 tons to 4.6 million.
  • Indonesia imports are lowered 100,000 tons to 1.1 million.
  • Philippines imports are down 100,000 tons to 1.0 million.
  • Vietnam imports are cut 100,000 tons to 300,000.