U.S. Rice Exports Rise for 2020-21 Marketing Year, Strong Start to 2021-22

    Photo: University of Arkansas

    The most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly export sales report brought in the first rice trade figures of the 2021-22 marketing year and closed out what felt like a tumultuous trade year for the industry.

    As of August 5, there were already 517,000 metric tons (MT) of outstanding sales recorded for this year, some of which were rolled over from the prior marketing year, but already nearly 200,000 MT ahead of where sales were at the same time one year ago.

    For the prior marketing year, which ran from August 1, 2020 until July 31, 2021, accumulated exports of 3,195,900 MT were up two percent from the marketing year before that. Accumulated exports encompass the tonnage that was actually shipped overseas, while outstanding sales mean that an agreement has been reached but rice has not yet left port in the U.S.

    “Last year’s export sales bump was kind of surprising because of a variety of factors, ranging from over-saturation following 2020 pandemic-buying and U.S. pricing, but much of it can be attributed to significant boosts in rough rice sales,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president of international.

    “Some of our traditional markets like Iraq and Colombia were essentially out of the market last marketing year, but Western Hemisphere markets in Brazil and Venezuela helped to pick up the slack with paddy shipments.”

    As of last week’s USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, U.S. rice exports are projected to decrease slightly, to 2,890,000 MT.

    “With less acreage planted this year, it’s not surprising to see the projected dip in exports,” Moran said. “We are certainly encouraged by the impressive sales already on the books to Iraq and Haiti, and we’ve got a full suite of promotional activities planned in our overseas markets.”

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