The international rice trade is forecast to fall by approximately 1 million tonnes, or 5 per cent, this year as improved harvest prospects in several major importing countries may reduce overall demand after achieving a worldwide record of 34.5 million tonnes (milled basis) in 2011, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In Thailand, the recent extension of government-sponsored pledging programme for secondary paddy crops is likely to keep the country’s rice export prices high. As the result, the world’s leading rice exporter is expected to incur a contraction in shipments, as buyers seek better prices from competitors, FAO said in a statement released here on Wednesday.
FAO has lowered its forecasts of international trade in rice in 2012 by 1.0 million tonnes
as improved prospects for production in several major importing countries may weaken world import demand. At the forecast level of 32.8 million tonnes (milled basis), trade would be 5 percent lower than in 2011, with much of the decline driven by a cut of purchases by Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and the Philippines.
As for suppliers, uncompetitive prices may depress exports from Thailand, but supply constraints are seen also to curb shipments from Argentina, Brazil, Myanmar, the United States and Uruguay.
Sales from Viet Nam may also fall short of the 2011 high. On the other hand, a full return to the market, following the lifting of the non-basmati export ban, may enable India to make up for part of these shortfalls, with Cambodia, China (Mainland) and Pakistan also forecast to step-up deliveries.
Uncompetitive prices may depress exports from Thailand
Supply constraints will probably inhibit exports also from Argentina, Brazil, Myanmar, the United States and Uruguay. Viet Nam, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, may not match its export totals from 2011. Cambodia, China and Pakistan, on the other hand, appear set to increase shipments, while India’s return to the export market, following the lifting of a ban on non-basmati rice exports, should also boost export totals from that country, FAO said.
The good 2011 world production outcome should facilitate an increase in 2012 global rice utilization of 11 million tonnes, or 2 per cent, to 471 million tonnes, but also boost global rice inventories by 10 million tonnes to 151 million tonnes (milled basis), sufficient to cover 32 percent of world utilization in 2012.
Global rice production is expected to set a new record when figures for 2011 are finalized, according to FAO, which raised its forecast for the world harvest by 700 000 tonnes on improved crop prospects in Asia.
Rice production should increase by 21. 4 million tonnes, a 3 per cent increase over the record set in 2010, and total 721 million tonnes (481 million tonnes, milled basis). Improved output from Asia was the key driver in the higher forecast.
Despite rising input prices and numerous weather setbacks – most notably widespread flooding in Southeast Asia during the second half of 2011 – total paddy production in Asia is now forecast at 653 million tonnes, also 3 percent higher than 2010 totals. The figure is 1.5 million tonnes more than the previous forecast issued in November 2011.
Countries in the Asia-Pacific region that registered strong gains over 2010 include Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Viet Nam.
However, production was expected to decline in Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, much as a result of adverse weather conditions, under the influence of a recurring La Niña, and, in the case of Japan, of the March 2011 tsunami.
Further afield, Africa will probably produce 25.5 million tonnes for a 1 per cent increase over 2010. A recovery in Egypt, and progress in Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone underpinned the improved harvest, even as severe contractions were recorded in Mali and Madagascar. The seasons ended positively in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania. In the other regions, gains were also made in Australia and the Russian Federation, but production fell in the European Union and, especially, in the United States.
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