Rice Market: Lethargic Trade with All Eyes on WASDE

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

There have been very few changes in the market conditions since last week’s report. In fact, with the exception of the usual futures market fluctuations and the minor adjustments to the Asian benchmark origin values, the only thing that has changed of significance is the world market price estimate with another downward revision. 

The market is not typically trading heavily at this time of the year, but the overall lethargy that seems to have set in of recent date is surprising. Even the weather has not significantly changed over the past week with most of the producing areas remining inundated.

For most of the rice producing regions, farmers are being “one tenth’d” to death through the minor weekly rainfall and lack of drying conditions. Even the domestic cash markets have stubbornly refused to move in either direction.

Planting season for the Gulf Coast is still 45-60 days away at the minimum, however the amount of field work yet to be completed in order to plant the new crop is tremendous with no opportunities in sight.

Having gotten the “bad” new out of the way, change is on the horizon. USDA will resume its WASDE reporting this week which will at least give some direction to the market. It should hopefully provide traders with more actionable information so that at least the industry can begin to move forward.

Cash market softness is likely as we move closer to the 2019 crop but if the anticipated acreage decreases materialize then prices should ration themselves into a better position for farmers by the end of the year. Export sales continue, although actual volume is still a question.

USDA insists that these reporting issues should be resolved by the end of the month, in which case it will be much easier to evaluate the pulse of the market on a weekly basis. With the advent of the aforementioned information, we anticipate much more to discuss in the next installment of the market report.

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