Rice Market: Lack of Information Leaves Trade Stagnant

The rice market is still very quiet due to lack of both demand and news since last week’s report. With the government shutdown still looming, several significant reports that generally influence the market have been foregone including one (soon to be two) WASDE reports, a stocks report, several export demand reports, as well as a few world market price reports. 

For an industry with only limited information available, this has suppressed the transparency of information and has caused an otherwise sluggish time of year to reach an even slower amount of trading. At this point, any attempt to analyze the current state of export sales is through speculation, extrapolation, and moderate divination.

Based on historical trends and market indications, the export sales market has slowed somewhat as overseas buyers seem to have satiated their short-term needs and are waiting to see if there is any more downside to the domestic cash market.

Some milled rice business would be a welcome respite to the current state of affairs, but with no real indications in the offing, bids on domestic rough rice remain stagnant. Anecdotal evidence suggests that export tonnage is still fairly consistent and will likely remain so although actual volumes are open to speculation.

Asian pricing has made some changes in value over the past weeks which appears to be a reflection of supply pressure in the region as the new crop harvest becomes imminent. The next few weeks will be illuminative as to where regional pricing will settle out and set the tone for the next several month’s global trade.

Domestically, cash pricing has seen very little change since the previous report with light and diminished volume moving at current levels.  

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Weather concerns still plague much of the rice growing region and continued wet weather has set farmers along the Gulf Coast further and further behind in preparation for new crop production. If the weather does not provide a window for field work, the new crop planted area and yield potential will experience significant negative impacts.

In the futures market, this week saw a more bullish outlook appear with net positive gains being realized across all of the open contracts on the board. The bearish trend that emerged last week would, at this point, appear to be a short term correction to the market as opposed to a key reversal.

Again, caution should be used in interpreting the futures values as when the government resumes its publishing schedule, a resulting correction will undoubtedly occur.

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