Rice Update: USDA Lowers World Market Price Estimate

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For another week, the rice trade has trudged forward making neither significant gains or posting notable losses. The status quo has remained static for several months in most areas from a marketing standpoint. The weekly export sales numbers saw some appreciable gains over last week’s numbers and remain much improved over those of the prior report. The current levels are much more conducive to market welfare and can hopefully remain at or near these points for a more extended period of time.

Looking at the export trends and cycles, it would appear that the purchasing of overseas buyers is becoming more cyclical or hand-to-mouth. If this persists, and current cycles are maintained, then the next report should note some gains over the current week with a tapering off in the week following. Recognizing that other factors play into these decisions, these are observations rather than mathematical projections.

Vessel loadings have appreciated significantly as more of the old sales are being shipped against in the current week. As has been mentioned in previous reports, continued flow through is a vital component of the export complex.

Asian pricing for the week is generally unchanged from the previous report, although minor currency-based fluctuations and adjustments have been observed in the benchmark origins.

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USDA seems to have sensed a soft underbelly to the market at this time as it has lowered its world market price estimate by $0.09 for both classes of rice. This marks the first time in several weeks that an adjustment has been made to the estimate. It will be interesting to note in the coming weeks whether this is a shift in market sentiment or just a routine adjustment.

Domestic cash prices are fairly stagnant as well with no major changes in values (or notable trading for that matter) over the past several weeks. Planting the 2019 crop has remained problematic, particularly in the Upper Delta region where persistent rainfall has plagued growers trying to get into the fields.

The Gulf Coast regions are mostly planted, although the rainfall there has impacted the emerged crop at different stages of growth. With prevented planting becoming a real option for growers across the Southern U.S., it will be interesting to note how the ultimate crop mix will actually look at harvest time.

The futures market posted minor losses (0.3% – 0.8%) as compared to last week’s values for all of the open contracts on the board. The nearby May ’19 contract exited the board this week, giving way to the July ’19 contract as the new nearby futures instrument.

Full report.


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