WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
The forecast for global rice trade in 1998 is increased by 250,000 tons this month, to a record 23.85 million tons. A decrease in the export forecast for Taiwan is more than offset by increases for Thailand and India. Anticipation of large tenders by Indonesia in the coming months have supported Asian prices, particularly for lower grades. Thai quotes were also boosted by strengthening of the baht. Meanwhile, tightening supplies and rising prices in Vietnam prompted that country to once again place a ban on new export sales. However, Vietnam is expected to participate in any Indonesian tenders.
The trade projection for calendar year 1999 is lowered 50,000 tons, to 20.1 million tons. Trade, production, and ending stocks are all lowered, due largely to an 8.5 million ton (rough basis) decrease in 1998/99 estimated production for China.
The 1999 export forecast for the United States is increased 100,000 tons (to 2.75 million tons) because of an upward revision in 1998/99 estimated production.
The 1999 export forecast for China is lowered to 1 million tons. The 750,000 ton decline is due to a downward revision in production. Chinas 1998/99 crop estimate was lowered this month to 188.6 million tons (rough). As a result, stocks and exportable supplies are expected to decline.
The forecast for 1998 exports from India is increased 250,000 tons this month, to 3 million tons, on continued heavy shipments to Africa and Bangladesh. Indias 1999 export forecast was also revised upward, to 2 million tons.
The 1998 export forecast for Taiwan is lowered 200,000 tons as plans to ship rice to Indonesia have been canceled.
The 1998 export forecast for Thailand is increased to 6.2 million tons due to an increase in estimated production. The projection for exports in 1999 is also increased due to larger carry-over stocks and less availability from China.
The 1998 import forecasts for Indonesia and the Philippines are raised this month, to 5.7 million tons and 2 million tons, respectively. Indonesia has announced plans to import additional large quantities of rice through the remainder of the year in an attempt to control rising domestic prices. The 250,000 ton increase in the Philippine forecast is due to a continued strong import pace.
The 1998 import forecast for South Korea is lowered to 60,000 tons. It appears that South Korea will delay shipment of the rice required to meet their 1998 minimum market access commitment until early 1999.
The 1999 import forecast for Bangladesh is raised to 500,000 tons as flooding has decreased the 1998/99 production outlook.
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