U.S. Rice Market: Rain, Cold, Snow Impedes Final Harvest in Some Areas

Arkansas rice hit by November snow. Photo: Rice Extension Agronomist, University of Arkansas

The export sales report for the week noted a large (percentage wise) decrease from the previous week’s volume. From a practical standpoint, the actual tonnage sold was within what would normally be considered acceptable margins, but on the heels of last week’s high numbers, is rather less exciting. If tonnage can consistently remain near current levels, then the market will note some uptick in pricing. Current values not-withstanding, the 145,000 MT noted in last week’s report would be even more welcome. 

Export tonnage for the week was up notably. Percentages can be deceiving, but the weekly volume will keep the industry moving along regardless. Asian pricing has been virtually unchanged since last week with no news of note to move the market in either direction.

Continued stagnation will not facilitate any additional trade to either the East or West, but will help to promote continued purchases from historic buyers. Essentially, with no major disparity arising between origins, the status quo should remain unchanged. The USDA seems to affirm the “flatness” in the marketplace with no change in its weekly world market price estimate.

In the domestic cash markets, growers are working to finish up the final fields to be harvested despite rain and in some cases, snow impeding the process. Needless to say, the quality has dropped off on these later lots due to the weather hardships, but at least the production year will be able to fade into the past. Cash prices are virtually unchanged from last week and with Thanksgiving pending and being immediately followed by Christmas, it is unlikely that this will change.

The futures market this week managed to post positive gains even as the November ’18 contract fades from the board to be replaced by the January ’19 contract as the new nearby indicator. All open contracts on the board traded around 0.03% – 0.07% higher over last week’s close. As the calendar year draws to a close, the likelihood of any major activity in the rice market is very limited. Any positive news from the Chinese trade negotiations could easily shock the market out of its stupor, if for no other reason than the strong anticipated activity in other grains. Until something significant happens, it will remain business as usual in the rice industry.

The Rice Advocate


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