Rice Update: Projected Acres vs Actual Production is the Question

Young rice, pre-flood. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

The rice market has remained very quiet with little movement in either direction since the last report. The major market indicators were muted over the week but were a mixed bag in general. The export sales report showed 35,000 MT of net sales for the week which was far from the optimal levels but is also not at the bottom end of the spectrum for the marketing year.

The vessel loadings volume fared little better at 51,000 MT suggesting that the outflow against old sales has slowed somewhat. Even though there is minimal rice left and the market is rationing until new crop harvest, both sales and export tonnage numbers could use some improvement in the next several weeks.

Asian pricing saw minor variation to both the up and down side in the primary benchmark origins, but the fluctuations were very minor and are primarily a result of exchange rate fluctuations.

Reinforcing this lackluster week was the world market price from USDA which was unchanged from last week’s values. It is entirely possible (if not likely) that next week’s estimate will see a modest decline in pricing. It is important to note that the WMP estimate is not an indicator in and of itself but rather a gauge to measure aggregate market factors.

The futures market had a mixed week as the market incorporated the influx of data from last week’s WASDE report. Overall, the market ended up in the red for the open contracts on the board. Of note is the exit of the May ’18 futures contract on the board to be replaced as the nearby contract by the July ’18 contract.

In the domestic cash market, producers are most worried about the weather in the South as the hot and dry conditions have persisted and very little precipitation is in sight. Row crop producers are particularly concerned as the weekly rains that have kept crop development on target thus far have since dissipated. 

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Most of the rice in Texas and Louisiana now has a stand but by the calendar is behind schedule. The South Louisiana Rail Facility (SLRF) is actively marketing new crop to interested buyers with new sales in Central America. The sales will be rough rice out of the Port of Lake Charles. Further north, rice planting is underway and growers are trying to finish up.

Bids for new crop have begun to respond to the acreage estimates and at this point, pricing looks to be positive as compared to last year. Even as the market is digesting the acreage, it is a far cry from projected acres to actual production. 2018 will be an interesting year from many standpoints.

Full report.

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