Rice Market Update: Delta Farmers Playing Catch Up with Planting

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    We have better-than-expected news coming out of Arkansas after last week’s dismal planting report. Fortunately, the largest rice producing state jumped from 14% planted last week to 40% planted this week, now trailing the five-year average by only 20%. We have to take our victories where we can find them, and being only 20% behind may be indicative of this year.

    From our surveys, estimates on the low side of Arkansas acreage are coming in at 900,000 acres, and high side at just over 1 million acres. Louisiana is right on track with 87% planted and 78% emerged, which is in line with historical norms. Missouri still remains significantly behind.

    Even though there hasn’t been significant milled rice demand, the strong domestic market coupled with the paddy market and shorter supplies have kept prices strong, and futures prices trending up. April of 2021 had futures at $13.385, and six month later in October, prices dropped slightly to $13.28. But that that point, futures started increasing and as of April 22 are at $17.48, which is 32% higher than the October futures price six months ago.

    The drought in South America has made the supply in the western hemisphere a significant question mark, and futures prices are a reflection of that.

    Looking at exports, our top two long grain destinations for the first two months of the year have outperformed last year by a significant margin. The U.S. has shipped 28,689 metric tons more this year than last year, an increase of 26%. Likewise, Haiti has received 34,978 metric tons more, an increase of 59%, but this is largely because of the political turmoil experienced in Haiti last year.

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    In Asia, Thai prices jumped again, up to $445 pmt from $417 last week. Prices remained the same in Vietnam around $410 pmt, India at $355 pmt, and Pakistan around $360 pmt. The reason for the increase in Thai is debatable, and can be combination of currency fluctuations, Iraq demand, and higher than expected qualities coming out of the origin. China and the Philippines are busy procuring supplies from Vietnam at these cheaper prices. India continues to lead all exporters in the culmination of liquidating record stocks.

    The weekly USDA Export Sales Report shows net sales of 10,100 MT this week, down 38% from the previous week and 71% from the prior four-week average. Increases primarily for Honduras (8,700 MT), Canada (4,100 MT), El Salvador (3,200 MT switched from Guatemala), Saudi Arabia (2,100 MT), and the United Kingdom (1,200 MT), were offset by reductions for Jordan (5,800 MT) and Guatemala (3,900 MT).

    Exports of 34,100 MT were down 62% from the previous week and 46% from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to South Korea (16,400 MT), Guatemala (7,900 MT), El Salvador (3,800 MT), Canada (3,000 MT), and Mexico (700 MT).

    Full report.

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