After weeks of stagnation, the rice market has finally gotten an influx of new information from the USDA reports released on Thursday of this week.
In the “normal” reports, export sales were reported lower than last week’s volume although the current 77,000 MT is still a positive number for long term export health. Vessel loadings were notably decreased but should pick back up as the more recent sales move through the system. Asian pricing was predominately sideways, with no major changes to the values noted since the previous report. The domestic cash market has also remained quiet.
Planting continues in the South with weekly progress being made. Texas and Louisiana are approximately 60%-70% planted at this time.
The world market price estimate for the week showed an increase, but as has been noted before, is probably responding to previous news. The real market movers for the week were the prospective plantings report and the rice stocks report, both issued on Thursday.
The prospective planting report was bullish for corn and soybeans, with reduced acres in both crops. For rice, the report was consistent with trade speculation in that total acres were increased by 9% over last year’s area for a total expected planted area of 2.69 million acres for all classes nationally. Expectations ranged from 5%-15% and this is an indication that the projections were accurate. By class, long grain acreage was increased over the previous year’s area by 12% or 200,000 acres while medium and short grain plantings are expected to be down 1% (4,000 acres) and up 31% (12,000 acres) respectively. In the stocks report, both rough rice stocks and milled rice stocks were reported to be lower than at the same time in 2017.