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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Rice Slumps as Pakistan Will Allow Exports of 1 Million Tons
May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Rice slumped to a six-week low as the prospect of exports from Pakistan and Japan eased concern that a global food shortage is worsening.

Pakistan, the fifth-biggest exporter, will permit shipments of 1 million metric tons because local needs have been met, Mohammad Azhar Akhtar, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, said yesterday. Rice has fallen 13 percent in Chicago this week.

The staple for half the world reached a record last month as exporters including Vietnam and India cut sales to guarantee local supplies. The advance in prices for food including rice and wheat has caused riots from Haiti to Egypt.

``The wheels are in motion for lower food prices,'' John Reeve, associate director for agricultural commodities at UBS AG, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Farm output costs were below selling prices and harvests were due, he said.

Rough rice for July delivery fell 27.5 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $20.065 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier dropping to $19.32, the lowest for a most- active contract since April 2. The price reached a record $25.07 on April 24 and still is up 85 percent from a year ago.

The decline this week was the biggest since the five days ended May 2, when rice plunged 13.4 percent, the most since 2004, Bloomberg data show.

Wheat traded in Chicago has gained 56 percent in a year, corn has advanced 57 percent, and both reached record highs in 2008. A food-price index compiled by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization fell in April for the first time since January 2007. It may do so again this month, the Rome- based group said yesterday.

Rally Peaked

``Rice prices appear to have already peaked,'' Kazuhiko Saito, a strategist at Interes Capital Management Co. in Tokyo, said by phone today. ``Some exporters may resume their sales before producers in Asia harvest new crops.''

The surge in rice prices, coupled with record energy and wheat costs, had stoked concern that basic goods would cost more than the poor could afford, creating a global food crisis. The UN's FAO estimated May 12 the global rice trade will drop 7.1 percent this year to 28.8 million tons.

Japan is in talks with the Philippines, the world's largest importer, about shipments from Japan's stockpiles of overseas rice, according to a government official, who declined to be identified in remarks reported May 12.

Easing Supply Concern

``The supply news from Japan and Pakistan has eased concerns,'' Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of the research department at IDO Securities Co., said today from Tokyo. ``The supply news has helped keep speculators from hoarding.''

Pakistani rice exporters ``can easily sell'' about 1 million tons on the international market, Akhtar of the South Asian nation's rice exporters group said yesterday. Shipments had been halted from May 2, the Business Recorder reported on May 6.

The South Asian country, which has about 3 million tons of surplus rice this year, had set a minimum export price for some premium rice grades to boost local availability. Traders were seeking new export contracts after complying with directives to sell rice at home, Akhtar said on May 7.

India, the world's second-biggest rice producer after China, may partly ease its ban on rice exports as the country is set to harvest a bumper crop, Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai told reporters May 9. Indian output in the year ending June may reach a record 95.68 million tons, the farm ministry said April 22. That compares with 93.35 million tons produced a year earlier.

Food Demand

Food prices, including rice, have surged on increased demand, rising incomes and speculative interest from hedge funds, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN's FAO, told reporters in Tokyo today.

``There's the speculative hedge funds, which have added to driving up food prices in the Chicago market,'' Diouf said at a press conference. ``Agricultural assistance is a crucial element for solving the present crisis.''

Global milled rice output will rise 1.4 percent to 435 million tons, the FAO said in a report on May 12.

``World planting acres for rice have been increasing following recent record prices,'' said Saito, the strategist at Interes Capital Management.

Rice prices had also gained earlier this month after a cyclone slammed into Myanmar's main rice-growing region on May 3, inundating farmland and fueling speculation that the nation will be forced to halt exports. The impact of Cyclone Nargis had been factored into global rice prices, Sunny Verghese, chief executive officer of commodity supplier Olam International Ltd., said today.

``Myanmar used to contribute about 5 to 6 percent of the world rice trade,'' Verghese said in an interview. ``The new crop, I don't think they will export.''
MGR Archive 18.5.2008
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