The rice industry saw generic strengthening in most of the primary marketing areas. The export sales report was up significantly over last week’s numbers at 87,000 MT in total sales. This indicates that U.S. remains competitive in the overseas market and that demand is still strong. Continued sales at this pace will help to reverse the current projected export sales for the year and will have a significant impact on the carryout numbers in the next few months.
Vessel loadings were off as compared to last week, but given the volume seen recently, it is reasonable to expect this to increase again in the coming weeks. The benchmark Asian varieties have seen some moderate price appreciation as well. The general uptick in the market is consistent with the undertones that have been reported in weeks past. With no expectation of news to change this sentiment, it is likely that further price increases can be expected in the coming weeks.
The world market price estimate from USDA was raised again this week which reinforces the firmness in the market at this time. In the domestic cash market, prices remain practically unchanged in most of the areas. Buyers and sellers are at loggerheads over the final lots of old crop with buyers not looking to raise prices above current levels and sellers not willing to sell at current prices. Large scale purchases earlier in the year have caused some demand side saturation and unless a notable amount of offshore demand materializes, this situation is not likely to change very soon.
Rice plantings across the South are well underway with significant levels of emergence in many areas. Texas and Louisiana hope to be on the receiving end of projected rainfall this weekend to help get the later planted rice up and make a good stand.
The futures market for the week posted moderate losses for the first time in the past several weeks. The market had a solid rally through the middle of the week’s trading, but scares surrounding trade relations soured the subsequent sessions leading to the weekly losses.
With the 2018 growing season “heating up”, all eyes are beginning to focus on new crop. Some of the biggest questions revolve around how big the crop will be, what the market environment will look like post-harvest, and what long term projections will look like for next year. While the answers to these questions have yet to materialize, they are becoming more readily analyzable and should become more apparent in the next few months.