WORLD RICE SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
The forecast for global rice trade in calendar year 1999 is increased 700,000 tons this month, to 21.7 million tons. 1998/99 production is raised 500,000 tons from the previous estimate, and global ending stocks are increased to 45.7 million tons. The 2 million ton upward revision in the stocks estimate is primarily due to lower consumption in India. Despite the month-to-month increase in the ending stocks estimate, global stocks are still expected to be over 6 million tons lower than the previous year.
Asian rice prices continued to move lower throughout February and the first week of March on sluggish demand and increased exportable supplies available in Thailand and Vietnam. Vietnam is harvesting its winter spring crop, and Thailand is harvesting its main season crop. Quotes for Thai 100B fell by $20 per ton, to about $271 per ton by the second week of March. U.S. quotes also softened a bit over the past month as new export sales have been slow. U.S. long grain export quotes are currently about $50 per ton lower than one year ago.
The forecast for 1999 exports from Australia is increased 25,000 tons due to higher production.
The 1999 export forecast for China is raised 250,000 tons this month (to 1.5 million tons) as exports for the first two months of the year were stronger than expected.
The forecast for 1999 exports from India is increased to 2.5 million tons. The situation in Bangladesh suggests heavy land shipments between the two countries are likely to continue.
The 1999 import forecast for Bangladesh is increased to 1.3 million tons.
The forecast for 1999 rice imports by Indonesia is raised 500,000 tons this month (to 2.5 million tons).
The 1999 import forecast for Malaysia is revised upward to 650,000 tons. The 50,000 ton increase is due to a downward revision in the production estimate.
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