Rice Update: Markets Quiet as Planting Pushes Forward

Photo: Clay Gibson, University of Arkansas

As stocks dwindle and business slows down a bit, there is little activity to report this week. With a good bit of effort and fighting the weather and field conditions all the way, planting is getting done and nearing completion is some areas north of I-10. On the international side of the book, markets in Asia showed only minor ups-and-downs this week, with relatively firm pricing holding and a few inter-Asia tenders being noted. 

There does not seem to be any big push for rice anywhere – markets are relatively calm – and commerce is moving along steadily. Domestic buying has quieted down, but it’s still there and should become even more interesting as the old crop supplies slip away and a late new crop comes into view.

USDA appears to sense some strength in the international markets, signal such by increasing the World Market Price for rice by 12 cents on both long and medium/short grain. This is the third week in a row world market prices have been increased by Washington.

Export sales reported to USDA this week were a light 15,200 metric tons. We will have to see how the next few weeks go to see if this was just an off week for sales. Remaining stocks are getting tighter, though, so we may get more of this light activity until new crop starts showing up in abundance. Export shipments, on the other hand, were a very solid 67,700 metric tons, and there are more old sales yet on the books to be shipped this year.

Rough rice futures were a sideways affair this week, with a high in the July on Monday at 13.13, followed by a 12.87 low on Tuesday, and closing out the week at 12.93, off 10 cents from the previous Friday’s close. Volume was relatively light all week, but especially so on Friday where total volume was just over 200 contracts. 

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This is an interesting and challenging market, and we suspect one or two surprises may be in the cards over the next several months. Shorting this market could result in an especially big surprise.

New crop is coming along, late in both south Louisiana and Texas, but looking fairly good all things considered. In the states up north where so much cold and wet weather has persisted, folks are finally getting planted. Only time will tell how those crops will work out, but it seems certain that there will be no early rice anywhere this year and that quality will have to be watched carefully.

There is optimism about the weather warming up throughout the rice states, and it can’t come soon enough to some folks thinking – no matter what, it will be most welcome when it gets here – and gets here to stay.

Full report.

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