WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
The forecast for global rice trade in 1998 is increased this month to 23.6 million tons. A decrease in the export forecast for China is more than offset by increases for India and Egypt. On the importer side, Indonesia continues to be the prominent player, lining up 600,000 tons of Thai and Vietnamese rice in recent weeks. As a result, quotes out of Vietnam inched upward during the past month, with quotes for 5 percent broken reaching $310 by the first week of August. Thai quotes were flat to slightly lower during most of July, but lower qualities bounced back in early August on the sale to Indonesia.
The trade projection for calendar year 1999 is unchanged at 20.2 million tons. Production and ending stocks are both lowered from the previous month, due largely to a 3 million ton (rough basis) decrease in the crop projection for China.
The 1998 export forecast for China is lowered to 2.25 million tons. The 250,000 ton decline is due to recent flooding that is expected to slow shipments.
The forecast for 1998 exports from India is increased 250,000 tons this month, to 2.75 million tons, due to heavier than expected rail shipments to Bangladesh.
The 1998 export forecast for Egypt is raised 200,000 tons due to an increase in the production estimate. The 1999 export projection is increased 100,000 tons due to a slight upward revision in the production outlook and an increase in carry-over stocks. Egyptian exports are expected to reach 500,000 tons in calendar year 1998, and 300,000 tons in 1999.
The 1998 import forecast for Indonesia is increased to 5.5 million tons. Indonesia has been active in the international market in recent weeks, securing large government-to-government contracts with Vietnam and Thailand.
The forecast for 1998 imports by Peru is increased this month to 200,000 tons due to a stronger than expected import pace.
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