We are really pressing up against almost no remaining stocks – not only in first hands, but in the entire South. Contrary to what this month’s USDA WASDE numbers reflected, we have never seen (or at least can’t remember) any year over at least the past 40+ years, where long grain stocks in particular were this low at this time of the marketing/crop year.
The USDA report added even more long grain to the overall picture – this was followed by rough rice futures going up both after the report and today. No matter what it takes, the domestic millers will keep their brands on the shelves in the grocery stores, but you can bet they are all counting practically each grain of old crop rough they have left to mill.
Export sales have remained fairly good as our stocks have dwindled and prices have held firm. This week USDA posted net sales of 27,100 metric tons of old crop and 13,500 tons of long grain rough for new crop shipment. Physical export liftings were also good at 37,300 tons. If we don’t get too high priced compared to our competition, we will see shipments pick up in the Aug/Sep/Oct period.
Rough rice futures over the past few weeks turned the shorts “every-which-way-but-loose”, and some of the shorts are still caught in the Sep contract now. This week ended with the Sep contract at $11.99 in Chicago, and we expect those kinds of prices to remain at least until harvest is well underway and the market can see just what kind of quality and stocks with be available for 2018/19.
New crop is right around the corner, and some of the late fields reported earlier in the season have nearly caught up as the high temps and sunshine have smiled upon most areas. There has been some untimely rain that worries a few folks, but we will all just have to wait and see what field out turns show. And there is the concern in some areas about the chemical over-spraying that has been noted on a somewhat wider scale than in years past. Overall, however, if the weather will continue to cooperate, we believe we will have a good crop. It won’t be long now.