OVERVIEW

For 2016/17, global rice production is lowered this month on downward revisions to the crops in the United States, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Brazil. However, production remains at a record. Global trade is up, with higher imports for Sri Lanka and the EU. Exports are raised for Thailand. Global stocks are revised lower with reductions to Vietnam and Sri Lanka, though still up from the previous year.

FEATURE

After a brief absence from the market in 2016, Sri Lanka is forecast to return as an importer in 2017, based on expectations of a 30 percent smaller crop amid a drought (see World Agricultural Production January 2017). As prices have risen, the Sri Lankan government has taken measures to facilitate imports of rice by removing levies and import taxes, authorizing private sector imports, and initiating government purchases from overseas. Historically, India has been the primary supplier.

However, the 1-million-ton shortfall is not expected to be met exclusively by imports, nor are imports forecast to rise to the 2014 level. In contrast to that period, Sri Lanka has begun this year with more ample carry-in stocks still available from the record 2015/16 crop. The government has already announced plans to release the majority of its reserves and has called upon the private sector to draw down its stocks as well.

PRICES

Exporter quotes for long-grain rice remained fairly stable over the past month. Thai and Indian quotes are $379/MT and $355/MT, respectively. The Vietnamese quote declined slightly to $339/MT, reflecting weak demand from traditional Asian buyers. The Western Hemisphere quotes remained at $465/MT for Uruguay and $455/MT for the United States on thin offshore demand.

SELECTED TRADE CHANGES for 2017

  • Indonesia imports are lowered 250,000 tons to 1.0 million on sufficient supplies and declining per capita demand.
  • Sri Lanka imports are raised sharply by 130,000 tons to 150,000 on a much smaller crop.
  • Thailand exports are raised 200,000 tons to 9.7 million on continued competitiveness amid ample supplies.

SELECTED TRADE CHANGES for 2016 – based on trade data

  • Pakistan exports are raised 100,000 tons to 4.3 million.
  • Philippines imports are lowered 200,000 tons to 800,000.
  • Thailand exports are raised 300,000 tons to 9.5 million.
  • Vietnam exports lowered 300,000 tons to 5.1 million.