Rice Market: Old-Crop Supplies Look A Bit Iffy
It has been reported for several weeks that the industry has remained virtually unchanged. As we look at the rice market this week, that seems to be a vast understatement. The anticipated WASDE report was released this week with literally no revisions aside from some pricing changes.
Meanwhile, export sales and vessel loadings experienced modest increases in volume, but are still modest at best. Asian markets saw some minor fluctuations in certain areas, but the value changes were approximately $1.00 per metric ton. Domestically, pricing has remained at the same levels as has been previously reported, albeit with minor adjustments in some areas.
A brighter note was the increase in the world market price estimate. The domestic futures market was the only area in which any real action was seen and that limited to a $0.36/hundredweight maximum trading range.
The USDA released its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) this week and the most interesting component of the report was in what did not change. Both the supply and demand side estimates were held unchanged over the past month. The only changes made to the domestic component of the report was a decrease in the range of the season average farm price by $0.40/hundredweight on the high end and by $0.20/hundredweight on the low end. The resultant season average farm price was $12.50-$13.30/hundredweight.
Export Rice Market Sales Mostly Increased
Export sales increased over the week to 53,100 MT, a 36% rise from last week’s from last week’s volume. Sales increases were to Colombia (13,500 MT), Japan (13,100 MT), Mexico (11,800 MT), Guatemala (5,900 MT, including 700 MT switched from El Salvador), and Canada (5,000 MT).
Those were partially offset by reductions for El Salvador (700 MT) and Costa Rica (100 MT). Sales were comprised primarily of long grain rice, with the Japanese shipment being medium/short grain. Vessel loadings were also increased this week by 24% with a total of 49,200MT. Primary destinations were Colombia (13,500 MT), Japan (13,200 MT), Guatemala (5,900 MT), Honduras (4,700 MT), and Mexico (3,900 MT). Loadings were composed of long grain rice with the exception of the Japanese shipment which was medium/short grain.
The markets in Asia were predominately sideways over the past week. Thai 100% parboiled ($377/MT) and Pakistani 5% ($355/MT) both exhibited modest price growth since the last report. Myanmar 5% parboiled ($458/MT), Myanmar 5% ($422/MT), and Thai 100%B ($383/MT) remained unchanged. Due to a holiday in Vietnam, Vietnamese 5% ($355/MT) was unquoted this week. All prices are quoted in US Dollars and are f.o.b. vessel.
USDA again increased its world market price estimates this week for both classes of rice. Long grain values are reported to have been increased by $0.12/hundredweight while medium and short grain prices were increased by $0.13/hundredweight. Currently, the on-farm WMP value of long grain rough reported at $9.40/hundredweight and the medium/short grain rough values at $9.48/hundredweight.
Interesting Supply-Demand Trends With South’s Old Crop Rice
The domestic cash market has remained very quiet over the past week.
- The Texas market has firmed up to around $5.00/hundredweight premiums over loan for both hybrid and conventional varieties.
- Pricing in Louisiana has also remained around the $11.42/hundredweight range which is unchanged from last week’s values.
- Pricing in Mississippi has slipped a bit since the last report, with current bids being around $11.11/hundredweight delivered barge. As has been the case for the past few weeks, only very light trading is occurring at these levels.
- Arkansas bids have been fairly constant as well with pricing being reported at the $10.89-$11.00/hundredweight fob farm level.
- Old crop bids in Missouri have held constant at the $11.22/hundredweight level. With no real news or direction from the marketplace, old crop pricing remains very stagnant across the rice regions at this time.
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The domestic futures market has had a rough week as the market see sawed back and forth, trying to gather some directional momentum. Monday saw the nearby March ’16 contract open at $11.12/hundredweight before sliding significantly by Tuesday’s close.
Wednesday saw the market try to rally and close at $11.13/hundredweight, but Thursday’s trading erased the previous day’s gains. This downward trend carried over into Friday’s moves, pushing the market down to close at $10.765/hundredweight. Overall, the market losses ranged from 2.12% to 3.31% for all open contracts on the board. The average daily volume for the week was 1,236.8 contracts on an open interest of 13,252 contracts as of Thursday’s close.
The discussion about firm market undertones has been continuous over the past few weeks and the static pricing that we continue to see seems to confirm some of these thoughts. It is important to recall that the majority of old crop rice is no longer in first hands for most of the South. Also, the lack of differentiation between hybrid and conventional varieties in this week’s bids is also of interest.
This suggests that the market is simply buying hand-to-mouth at this point as it determines which direction pricing will ultimately swing. While the market is far from certain, it is almost guaranteed that the old crop stocks will not be sufficient to bridge the gap into new crop. The question is how much this phenomenon will impact price.
After a strong start for the week, the ICE Dec contract encountered weakness following the dissemination of strong US export sales data, ultimately giving up 150 points on the week,