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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Japan May Export 200,000 Tons of Rice to Philippines
May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Japan, responding to appeals for rice after soaring prices led to shortages, plans to export 200,000 tons to the Philippines.

Japan will ship the rice ``as fast as possible,'' Vice Agriculture Minister Toshirou Shirasu told reporters in Tokyo today. The Philippines, the world's largest rice importer, was unable to buy enough at tender because of surging costs.

China, Egypt, India and Vietnam have curbed exports this year to safeguard domestic stockpiles and cool inflation. The staple for half the world reached a record last month and the advance in prices for food including rice and wheat has caused riots from Haiti to Egypt. Rice traded at $20.21 per 100 pounds in Chicago today, about 20 percent below its April 24 high.

The Japanese move can ``soften the market price for rice,'' said Nobuyuki Chino, president of Tokyo-based grain trading company Unipac Grain Ltd. The exports will probably push down prices in the Philippines and Indonesia, he said in a telephone interview today.

Japan will export rice imported under World Trade Organization rules. The U.S. won't object if Japan taps its stockpile to ease rising prices, a U.S. trade official said last week, ruling out the possibility of a WTO complaint.

The country has foreign rice stockpiles of about 1.2 million tons, a government official said May 9. The Philippines is also in talks with a private organization to buy as much as 50,000 tons of domestic Japanese rice, Shirasu said.

Talks Scheduled

U.S. and Japanese officials will discuss this week how Japan would use the inventories, whether donated as food aid or sold on the market, the U.S. trade official said last week.

Japan agreed to give so-called minimum market access to rice-exporting countries at the Uruguay Round of world trade talks that ended in December 1993 and bought a total of 8.32 million tons of foreign rice from April 1995 to October 2007.

``The move is rather a political gesture,'' said Lee Dae Seob, an agricultural economist specialized in rice markets at the Seoul-based Korea Rural Economic Institute. ``The volume looks too small to affect rice prices in the short term.''

The country may ship 50,000 tons of rice to the Philippines in weeks, the Southeast Asian nation's Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told reporters in Manila today.

Food-Index Decline

Rice prices are up 88 percent in the past 12 months. Wheat gained 63 percent and corn 54 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 last week.

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 wheels are in motion for lower food prices,'' John Reeve, associate director for agricultural commodities at UBS AG, said May 16 on Bloomberg Television. Farm output costs were below selling prices and harvests were scheduled, he said.

Pakistani rice exporters ``can easily sell'' about 1 million tons on the world market, said Mohammad Azhar Akhtar, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, May 15.

Bumper Indian Crop

The South Asian country, which has about 3 million tons of surplus rice this year, had set a minimum export price for some premium grades to boost local availability. Shipments halted May 2 after traders were asked to match domestic sales to the quantity sold overseas, the Business Recorder newspaper reported.

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, up from 93.35 million tons the previous year.
MGR Archive 19.5.2008
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