The rice export sales volume for the week was off almost 60% compared to last week’s net sales. This on again, off again or hand to mouth buying is normal given the overall market conditions and uncertainty, however more consistent tonnage would go a long way toward helping to work through the existing inventory.
Vessel loadings were also reported off by almost three-quarters of last week’s tonnage. This is somewhat surprising given the volume of sold but unshipped inventory on the books. We expect to see an uptick in this value in the next few weeks as the industry catches up on old transactions.
In the Far East, Asian pricing has seen almost no perceptible change in value since the last report. Currencies changes have been fairly constant (on balance) and the existing prices suggest that very little is moving in that area from a supply or demand standpoint either. As if to underscore the sideways action, USDA held its world market price estimate unchanged from the previous week as well.
In the domestic cash market, rice prices have seen very little changes aside from futures market adjustments in any of the major rice growing areas. Buying interest seems to have abated for the time being which is just as well since selling interest has significantly diminished at current prices.
Rice growers along the Gulf Coast, Texas and parts of Louisiana are watching the second crop develop with some sense of trepidation. Weather in the areas have been rather unfavorable for crop development and with the existing infrastructure issues, the second crop will be a wildcard this year, to say the least. Mississippi and Arkansas indicate that harvest in those areas is almost complete. The remnants of Hurricane Michael have swept through parts of the rice growing regions providing additional rainfall which hampered the harvest in some areas. For the most part though, the crop is reported as being in “ok” condition. The Missouri harvest should conclude in the next week or two given decent conditions.
The futures market over the past week seems to have rebounded after the WASDE report and has posted positive gains in all of the open contracts on the board as of Thursday’s close. The next few weeks will be interesting from a quality standpoint as more information becomes available as to the overall quality of the 2018 crop. When the market has had a chance to digest this data, then the gears should start to move, and the industry can work toward moving more rice.