WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
The forecast for global rice trade in 1999 is virtually unchanged this month at 21 million tons. The 1998 trade estimate is revised up 700,000 tons, to a record 27.3 million tons, on increases in the export estimates for India and China.
Export quotes for Thai rice strengthened during the first half of January, with quotes for 100B reaching $327 per ton by the middle of the month, only to fall back to just under $300 per ton by the first week of February. The rally in the Thai market was fueled by heavy loadings, primarily of parboiled rice, and concerns about drought affecting the second crop. However, by mid-January the spread between Thai 100B and Viet 5 percent broken had reached nearly $90 per ton, and buying interest shifted to Vietnam. Quotes for rice from Vietnam has been on a downward trend since December, with Viet 5 percent broken quoted at around $240 per ton in early February. Quotes for U.S. Southern long grain have also been trending downward during January and early February on slow new sales.
The forecast for 1999 exports from Australia is increased 25,000 tons due to higher production.
Estimated 1998 exports from China are raised to 3.7 million tons due to stronger than expected shipments in December. The revised estimate brings Chinas 1998 export figure to a record level for that country.
The estimate for 1998 exports from India is revised upward to 4.7 million tons on larger than previously estimated shipments to Bangladesh.
The 1998 import estimate for Bangladesh is increased to 2.5 million tons.
The 1998 import estimate for South Africa is lowered to 525,000 tons. The 50,000 ton decline is due to a slower than expected import pace. The 1999 import forecast is also revised downward, to 550,000 tons.
Estimated imports by Senegal in 1998 are increased 25,000 tons this month (to 600,000 tons). The 1999 import forecast is also raised to 600,000 tons.
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