The rice market has continued to trade sideways in the pre-harvest interval since the last report. Export sales for the week were notably higher than the previous week, but still at a dismal 23,000 MT. There is no significant amount of rice yet to trade until the first lots of new crop are dried and graded. Vessel loadings note a similar scenario, with very low tonnage as well.
The benchmark Asian prices have remained fairly constant over the week with little to no movement in most areas. Even currency valuations have been muted over this time. As if to accentuate the static nature of the market, USDA has held its world market price estimate constant.
In farm country, the Gulf Coast harvest has begun in fits and starts as growers fight to get the crop out amid constant rainfall. With the entire coast from New Orleans to Brownsville having been inundated over the past week, this has proven quite a challenge. Early Texas lots reported very promising yield numbers, with some estimates in excess of 10,000 lbs per acre. Later rice that was subjected to flooding has seen notably lower projections with reports of downed rice and sprouting becoming more prevalent. Further, these attempts to mud out the rice in the rain has negatively impacted second crop potential by as much as 30% in those fields.
The crop progression in Mississippi and the Upper Delta is also combating the weather, however continued development is being reported as well. From a pricing standpoint, cash prices seem to be dependent on the delivery window, with those earlier windows commanding higher price potential. Pricing will likely deteriorate into harvest as the larger acreages come online and a better picture of the quality emerges.
In the futures market, the week noted modest losses across the board. Open contracts shed between .73% – 2.6% respectively and with very little market carry between nearby and deferred contracts. Daily volume was notably higher than last week, while Thursday’s open interest was marginally lower. The end of the month is upon the industry and it will probably be the end of August before any significant volume is ready to be traded. In the meantime, there will be a lot of speculation and positioning from all components of the industry as the trade works to determine what exactly the new crop will look like.