WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
World rice trade is now forecast to hit a record 21.1 million tons in 1998. The surge in trade is largely due to Indonesia, which is now forecast to import a record 3.7 million tons. Despite heavy loadings for Indonesia, the Philippines, and the recent entry of Bangladesh into the market, Asian prices have remained relatively steady over the past month. Thai quotes stayed within about a $10 range, and ended the month very near where they began. In Vietnam, however, quotes began edging upward in the latter half of February, as most observers believe the market to be oversold. Meanwhile, U.S. quotes softened during February and early March despite continued sales to Latin America. The California market is quiet as exports to Japan have been completed.
The 1998 export forecast for China is increased to 1.75 million tons. Record production in 1997/98 is expected to translate into larger exports and still allow for stock-building to occur.
The forecast for 1998 exports from India and Pakistan are each raised to 2 million tons. Increased demand from Bangladesh is expected to draw the additional 250,000 tons of exports from India. Pakistans export forecast is moved up to the level achieved in 1997.
Meanwhile, heavy rains and cool weather have reduced production expectations in Argentina and Uruguay. As a result, the 1998 forecasts for these two countries are lowered to 550,000 tons and 600,000 tons, respectively.
The 1998 import forecast for Indonesia is raised to a record 3.7 million tons to reflect continued heavy buying by Indonesias rice import monopoly, Bulog. The huge import campaign is necessary to supplement a drought-reduced and delayed domestic crop. 1997/98 Indonesian production is expected to fall 2 million tons (rough basis) from the previous year.
The forecast for 1998 imports by the Philippines is increased to 1.25 million tons as they also continue to purchase substantial quantities to supplement a drought-reduced domestic crop.
Chinas 1998 import forecast is lowered to 400,000 tons. Although demand for premium rice is still strong, the quantity imported in 1998 is expected to be similar to 1997 due to tariffs that have reduced profitability for importers.
Bangladesh has recently entered the market for large quantities of rice. As a result, 1998 imports are now expected to reach 500,000 tons.
Download the rice tables in:
Adobe Acrobat Format
Lotus Spreadsheet Format
Return to Table of Contents