Rice Update: Good Week for Exports, Farmers Await Iraqi Tender Results
USDA’s current world market price estimate remained unchanged from last week’s values. 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.
There was a trickle of more positive news this week for the domestic rice industry which is quite notable given the past several weeks of monotony. The big news this week was the significant boost in export sales. While more volume will need to move to significantly impact prices, the 90,000 MT numbers are much closer to where the industry needs to be.
Export loadings remains slow, especially given the volume, but this number should pick up in the next few weeks as sellers ship on old business. The Asian markets were generally quiet as pricing slid somewhat from the levels of the past few weeks. Also, the USDA’s world market price remained unchanged since the last report and the domestic cash market is virtually the same as well.
The futures market saw some very positive moves this week, especially given the lackluster performance seen in weeks past. Overall, the general undertone is still quiet, but with a bit more firmness beneath it.
In the futures market, despite starting off with a Federal holiday, rice saw some much needed upside price appreciation. Tuesday saw the nearby March ’16 contract open at $10.765/hundredweight before climbing to a weekly high at Wednesday’s close. Thursday’s trading saw the market retract somewhat, before regaining some of the ground lost in Friday’s action.
Friday’s market close put the nearby contract at $11.02/hundredweight. Overall, the market gains ranged from 1.88% to 2.35% for all open contracts on the board. The average daily volume for the week was 1,578.25 contracts on an open interest of 12,862 contracts as of Thursday’s close.
Domestically, it has been yet another quiet week in the cash market.
In Texas, the market remained firm at the $5.00/hundredweight premiums over loan for both hybrid and conventional varieties. The total amount of rice left in producer hands continues to dwindle, as indicated by the lack of differentiation between hybrid and conventional varieties.
The Louisiana pricing equation has also remained firm at the $11.42/hundredweight level. The advent of additional activity from the Lake Charles facility has stretched the stocks in the Southwest part of the state to the point that all of the old crop will be gone well before the new crop is in.
Mississippi reports that bids have backed off slightly from last week’s report. Current old crop bids are at the $11.00/hundredweight range, delivered barge.
In Arkansas, bids have also softened a bit. Prices are currently being reported at the $10.33/hundredweight fob farm level.
No changes have been indicated in Missouri for old crop, with bidding holding at around the $11.22/hundredweight level. Even as producer inventories get tight, the market appears to be sufficiently saturated at this time that there is no pressure for bids to strengthen.
Export sales saw a noticeable boost this week from last week’s 53,100 MT, with a reported 90,600 MT total for the week. This increase represents a 71% increase over last week’s numbers. Sales increases were reported to Mexico (41,400 MT), Colombia (22,100 MT), Saudi Arabia (5,400 MT), Haiti (4,900 MT), and Jordan (4,700 MT). Sales were comprised primarily of long grain rice, with the Jordanian shipment being medium/short grain.
Vessel loadings decreased from last week by 23% with a reported total of 38,000MT. Primary destinations were Taiwan (7,300 MT), Haiti (7,000 MT), El Salvador (6,100 MT), Mexico (3,900 MT), and Canada (2,900 MT). Loadings were composed of long grain rice with the exception of the Taiwanese shipment which was medium/short grain.
Asian values softened up over the past week, with minor downward price adjustments in most areas. Myanmar 5% ($422/MT) and Myanmar 5% parboiled ($458/MT) both exhibited no change from last week’s values. Thai 100% parboiled ($374/MT), Thai 100%B ($375/MT), and Vietnamese 5% ($353/MT) all declined somewhat since last week’s report. Meanwhile, Pakistani 5% ($345/MT) saw some modest price appreciation. All prices are quoted in US Dollars and are f.o.b. vessel.
With much uncertainty pervading the agricultural industry in the U.S., the question has constantly been brought to light about how rice stocks are being handled and the resultant pricing reaction to the market’s moves.
This has been nowhere more apparent than in southwest Louisiana. The Port of Lake Charles export facility, opened late last year, has been a crucial driver in the marketing in that part of the world. With over 60,000 MT already on the books, the availability of rice in first hands has been all but exhausted. This movement has helped to provide price stability in the region for growers.
On a longer term outlook, it will have broad impacts on the pricing scenario over the next few years as the additional outlet it provides for growers to use as a marketing tool. If the 2016 crop is as large as many expect it to be, the additional export volume generated in the South from these and similar enterprises will be crucial to ensure that prices remain stable and that sufficient volume moves out of the country to keep the market moving.
Some Grain Belt analysts question USDA’s latest 2016 farm income estimates as overly optimistic. They doubt growers were able to shed as much in input costs this season as USDA’s