Rice Harvest Pressure Building on the Marketplace

August 3, 2018

The rice industry continues to be very slow even with harvest pending as the market has yet to generate any “new” news upon which to move. The export sales report for the week was slightly improved over the previous report by about 1,000 MT but as has been mentioned before, it is not a particularly active time for rice exports at this time of year. Realistically, the export numbers are unlikely to pick up significantly until the middle of September. Vessel loadings were also somewhat improved on a relative scale but remain low for the same reasons as sales. Trade considerations also play a factor and until some resolution is reached regarding some of the major export markets, even the “high season” volumes will likely be suppressed.

Asian pricing has seen some modest recovery in values since the last report with benchmarked origins posting some gains in all areas. A significant portion of the fluctuations are likely attributed to currency movement while the remainder is a result of market forces. There are no major price shifts apparent at this time. The world market price estimate from USDA also saw some decrease over the week although the adjustment also reflects the new marketing year that began on August 1.

In the domestic cash markets, there has been virtually no move in the past several weeks. The reasons for this are multi-fold. Cash rice in producer hands is non-existent and this situation will persist until harvest is well underway in the next few weeks. Also, processors made large purchases earlier in the year that are still being worked against as inventory and thus buyers have no real incentive to become aggressive with the market. Finally, with exports lagging and the myriad of trade issues to be resolved, the offshore demand required for major market changes is not available at this time. Until at least two of these factors are resolved then the current market situation will remain.

The futures market had a lackluster week as well with all of the open contracts on the board posting losses in excess of 3%. The harvest pressure on the market is definitely building up and may well remain for the next several weeks as the market finds the new normal. Until then, it will be a waiting game.

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