WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
The forecast for global rice trade in 1998 is raised 250,000 tons this month, to a record 25.7 million tons. The higher trade forecast is due to increases in the export estimates for China, Vietnam, and the United States, which are partially offset by a reduction in the Pakistan export forecast.
Asian rice prices remained weak throughout November and early December as the Thai harvest continues and very little new buying has occurred. Thai prices were relatively flat during the period, but showed some strength during the first week of December on strengthening of the baht. Meanwhile, Vietnamese prices tumbled approximately $20 per ton for most grades as unsold stocks pile up.
The trade projection for calendar year 1999 is raised 350,000 tons this month, to 21.4 million tons. The boost in trade is due to larger exportable supplies expected to be available from Argentina and Egypt.
The forecast for 1998 exports from Vietnam is increased to 3.75 million tons.
The 1998 export forecast for Pakistan is lowered 200,000 tons (to 1.8 million) as Pakistans hopes for additional sales to Indonesia before the end of the year failed to materialize.
The forecast for 1998 exports from the United States is increased to 3.1 million tons, up 100,000 tons from last month.
The forecast for 1999 exports from Egypt is raised to 600,000 tons this month. The 300,000 ton increase is due to sizeable carry-in stocks and expected sales to Indonesia.
The 1999 export forecast for Argentina is increased to 600,000 tons (up 50,000 from last month), on larger production.
1998 imports by Brazil are expected to reach 1.4 million tons, up 200,000 tons from last months forecast. The increase is due to continued strong shipments of rough rice from the United States.
The import forecast for the United States is lowered 50,000 tons this month as U.S. imports from Vietnam have slowed this year.
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