Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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Australia - drought conditions worsen in September
The drought gripping eastern Australia has intensified amid warnings it will force millions of tonnes of grain to be diverted from exports to feed livestock.

The Bureau of Meteorology's latest drought analysis shows rainfall deficiencies intensified in NSW, Victoria and South Australia in September.

"The dryness was exacerbated by temperatures that were well above normal," the bureau said.

Conditions eased in Western Australia - the nation's biggest wheat producing state - during the month.

But winter and early spring rainfall totals between June and September were severely lacking across the whole of the southern mainland.

"Record low totals occurred in scattered patches over WA, in parts of southern Victoria and in a few patches across Tasmania," the analysis said.

"Multi-year rainfall deficits in the southeast have been exacerbated by the most recent period of suppressed rainfall."

AWB, Australia's monopoly wheat exporter, has again slashed its forecast for this season's harvest - down to 12-15 million tonnes from an earlier estimate of up to 20 million tonnes.

That could make this season's haul around half the size of last year's 24 million tonnes - the second highest on record.

AWB International (AWBI), which controls the national wheat pool, said it was experiencing rapidly increasing demand from the domestic market in its weekly tenders, receiving expressions of interest for a million tonnes of grain in the last fortnight.

AWBI chairman Ian Donges said a large amount of last season's carryover of five million tonnes would have to be diverted from exports to meet domestic demand for livestock feed.

"The way we're going, a big part of that may well now find its way back into the domestic market if we get a worst case scenario, and I think that worst case scenario's probably only three or four weeks away," he said.

"The amount of grain that's available on the domestic market from other suppliers has all but dried up now. People are seeing the season deteriorate so quickly they're not prepared to release stocks."

Mr Donges, a former National Farmers Federation president and a central NSW wheat grower, said while existing export contracts would be met, it would be a challenge to fill export demands next year with a pool as small as five or six million tonnes.

"This is the worst season I've ever experienced by a mile in terms of wheat production," he said.

"There's huge tracts of land where people won't harvest anything, and this is unheard of."

Economists estimate the drought could shave as much as a full percentage point off economic growth this year and have begun debating whether the worsening conditions will force the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates early in 2007.
MGR Archive 6.10.2006
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