Rice Market: Futures Hold Up Well to Negative Report
This month’s Supply/Demand Report released this morning addressed the new crop projections and left old crop numbers essentially unchanged from last month. The jury is still out on just how much long grain will be planted this year, but USDA is projecting a 25% increase over 2013/14. From the impression we are now getting, this will probably be too high. Once the weather, medium grain incursion, and soybean offsets are all known, we should have a better idea.
The long grain price projections were better than we expected to see from USDA – $13.50 to $14.50 at the farm. The old crop figures continued to show a long grain ending stocks of 17.3 million cwts – no one believes it will be even close to that much. We still say it will be well into single-digit numbers. The old crop price projection remained strong at $15.20 to $15.80.
The new crop all rice average yield is estimated to be 7,468 lbs, down 3% from this year – this might be optimistic considering the problems everywhere except south Louisiana. We are not sure how to judge the medium/short grain projections just yet, except to say that we think there will probably be more acres in the South than this report reflects.
The projected farm price for medium/short is higher by 80 cents on the low end to $1.20 on the high side – we agree that it will be higher but cannot assess the accuracy of USDA numbers. Next month will give us a better picture on all rice.
USDA left World Market Price factors unchanged this week. The on-farm value of long grain rough is still $11.63 per cwt.
Rice futures broke down overall this week, but they actually held up well on Friday following release of the Supply/Demand Report which from a futures stand-point was negative on its face. The nearby July contract settled at 15.43 on the continuation chart, down 7 cents on the day but only 6 cents from last Friday. The look of the chart now says to us that 15.30 may be the next stop, unless some short gets nervous and decides to start buying on a fairly good scale.
That could happen, as the rice at this stage can be a tricky item. Volume has been light this week, but open interest has held steady around the 8,000 contract mark. We still see lower prices attracting buying in the July position. New crop months Sep and Nov held up well, too, settling at 14.435 and 14.58 respectively, each off only 5 cents following some big projections for new crop. Use care and good judgment if trading futures.
After last week’s very weak showing, net export sales were considerably better this week at 33,100 tons. Almost 95% of the purchases were for long grain, with Honduras and El Salvador taking 8,800 tons and 4,700 tons of rough respectively.
A total of 25,300 tons of long grain milled and brown were bought primarily by Haiti (20,900 tons), Mexico (1,500 tons), Yemen (1,200 tons parboiled), and Canada (900 tons milled and 100 tons brown).
Medium/short milled sales were 1,700 tons, with Canada, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia being the main buyers. We are happy to see the tonnage pick up from last week, but we would like to see more of everything sold before this marketing year comes to a close.
Export shipments were substantial at 44,200 tons, with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico being the destinations on a total of 8,800 tons. Long grain milled and brown loaded out a total of 27,600 tons. Haiti was the big hitter at 22,500 tons, followed by Canada at 2,000 tons, and Mexico with 1,300 tons – the United Kingdom took the 200 tons of brown that were shipped.
Medium/short grain had a little something for everyone, starting with 800 tons of rough consigned to Mexico. The head-liner was 4,000 tons of brown shipped to Taiwan, Japan, and Canada. Milled medium/short rounded out the week’s shipments with 3,100 tons taken primarily by Canada, Jordan, and Japan.
There are still no major changes in Asian prices. Thai 100% Grade B is now $390 per ton fob vessel, with parboiled at $410 per ton. Vietnam’s 5% long grain ended the week at $395 per ton. Pakistan’s 5% long grain was at $420 per ton with parboiled at $440 per ton. India’s prices remained solid at $420 for 5% long grain and $400 for parboiled.
The bulls were again winners in an exciting week for longs and producers. In last week’s report, I said the markets bias would be near unchanged to a bit lower.