OVERVIEW

For 2017/18, global production is revised higher to a near-record this month, as larger crops in India, Thailand, and Vietnam more than offset a cut in the United States. Consumption is marginally increased, while stocks continue to grow. The majority of stocks continue to be held in China. Global trade is revised higher this month, which would be the second largest on record if realized. The U.S. season-average farm price is raised.

For 2016/17, global production is raised to a new record. Trade is revised up, while consumption is marginally higher.

PRICES

Export quotes for all of the top five suppliers rose over the past month. The Thai prices rose the most, peaking at $462/ton – the highest since 2013 – before subsiding to $437/ton. Pakistani quotes are seasonally high at $432/ton. Indian quotes crept up to $415/ton. Vietnamese quotes escalated to $409/ton on strong demand from China, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia. The United States remained at $500/ton. Competition is fierce among exporters, with all quotes congregating within a $100/ton range. This is the narrowest range for the top 5 suppliers since 2011.

Chinese Exports Forecast to Soar to Highest Level in a Decade

Chinese rice exports have spiked in 2017 and are expected to strengthen further into 2018. Chinese exports have been meager the past few years, primarily supplying medium- and short-grain rice to South Korea and Japan. During this period, China has not been competitive in long-grain rice trade, and has instead become the largest global importer. The trade flow into China has primarily been on the basis of more affordable prices from Southeast Asian suppliers, as compared to the higher minimum support prices in China.

Surprisingly, in recent months China has been exporting low-priced rice to Africa. The last time China exported similar volumes was about 10 years ago, prior to the current price supports and during a period that the country was reducing large stocks.

Selected Trade Changes for 2018

  • Bangladesh imports are up 300,000 tons to 700,000 on efforts to maintain adequate stock levels.
  • China imports are raised 200,000 tons to 5.0 million based on continued large purchases from neighboring countries, while exports are up 100,000 tons to 900,000 on expectations of continued sales to Africa.
  • Madagascar imports are boosted 200,000 tons to 500,000 to partly offset a drought-reduced crop.
  • India exports are up 1.0 million tons to 11.0 million on ample exportable supplies with a larger crop.

Selected Trade Changes for 2017

  • Bangladesh imports are up 100,000 tons to 700,000 as the country seeks to restore supplies after extensive flooding.
  • China imports are raised 100,000 tons to 5.1 million on recent border trade. Meanwhile, exports are up 300,000 tons to 800,000 on larger shipments to Africa.
  • Madagascar imports are lifted 150,000 tons to 350,000 tons reflecting recent large purchases.
  • Brazil exports are cut 150,000 tons to 650,000 based on a slow pace of trade.
  • Burma exports are boosted 300,000 tons to 1.9 million on robust demand from neighboring countries.
  • Vietnam exports are lifted 200,000 tons to 5.8 million on stronger sales within the region.