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Record rice stocks are projected to continue, with China responsible for 68 percent of global levels

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Global ending stocks of rice are projected to reach 171.9 million tons in the 2019/20 marketing year (August–July), the highest on record and the 13th consecutive year of expansion. The phrase “ending stocks” refers to the amount of a given commodity held in storage at the end of a marketing year rather than being consumed domestically or exported. High ending stocks put downward pressure on prices because they are carried over from year to year, inflating potential supply levels beyond what is produced in a given year. China accounts for the bulk of the increase in global stocks since the mid-2000s, with China’s 2019/20 ending stocks projected at a record 116 million tons or almost 68 percent of global ending stocks. China’s substantial stocks build-up since 2007/08 is largely due to producer-support programs that purchased rice from farmers at prices above market levels. In contrast to China’s rising stocks, rice stocks held outside of China in 2019/20 are projected at 55.9 million tons, virtually unchanged from a year earlier and nearly equal to the 2007/08-2018/19 average. This chart is drawn from data discussed in the ERS Rice Outlook report and appears in the ERS Rice Chart Gallery, updated in July 2019.

U.S. rice imports are projected to reach a record high in the 2019-20 marketing year

Monday, July 8, 2019

U.S. rice imports are projected to reach record levels in the 2019/20 marketing year (August–July). The 2.92 billion pounds of projected rice imports in 2019/20 are more than double the levels from 15 years ago. Imports are projected to account for more than 22 percent of domestic and residual use of rice in 2019/20. Aromatic and other specialty varieties from South Asia and Southeast Asia, which are not currently produced in the United States, account for the bulk of the imported rice, and these imports show long-term growth trends. The latter trends are driven by U.S. population growth, changing demographics, and greater restaurant sales. Additional recent growth has been due to the restoration of imports from China. Since May 2018, China has returned as a key supplier of medium- and short-grain rice to Puerto Rico. China supplied the bulk of Puerto Rico’s rice in 2006/07 and 2007/08, but was largely absent from the market for a decade. Increased imports from China represent over 90 percent of overall growth in U.S. rice imports in 2018/19 over 2017/18. This chart is drawn from data contained in the ERS Rice Outlook report released in June 2019.

Use of excess Chinese rice stocks for feed use could affect global and Chinese rice and corn prices

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

In China, rice stocks (unused rice kept in storage) are projected to reach a record 113 million tons at the end of the 2018/19 marketing year this June, the 12th consecutive year of increasing stocks. Currently, China is estimated to hold about 70 percent of the world’s stocks of rice. Chinese policymakers are considering releasing excess rice stocks for use as an alternative to corn in livestock feed. The ERS 10-year baseline model shows that the effect of releasing rice into feed markets would depend on whether rice is substituted for corn held in stocks or for imported corn. In China, corn prices would fall much more sharply if rice is substituted for corn stocks rather than corn imports, according to the model, which simulated releases of stocks over a decade. However, globally, corn prices are only changed if corn imports are the source of the substitute. The model also shows that global rice prices would rise 2 percent regardless of the substitution source. This chart appears in the March 2019 Amber Waves article “The release of China’s rice stocks could impact global feed markets.

All major rice-producing States increased planted acreage in 2018

Monday, March 11, 2019

Almost all of the rice produced in the United States comes from six States: California, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. California is the major producer of short- and medium-grain varieties, while the remaining States mainly produce long-grain rice. The latest USDA data for the 2018/19 crop year show planted rice acreage increased in all of those States relative to the previous year, with Arkansas accounting for 58 percent of the 483,000-acre increase. Arkansas plantings for all types of rice were up 24 percent, to 1.4 million acres, with long grain accounting for the bulk of the increase. Farmers in Missouri and Mississippi increased long-grain rice acreage. Louisiana increased both long- and medium-grain acreage. Due to the drought in California from 2011 to 2017, planted acreage there has contracted since 2011. However, at 506 thousand acres, the California 2018/19 all-rice plantings broke the 500-thousand-acres barrier for just the second time since 2013. This chart appears in the ERS Rice Outlook: February 2019 newsletter.

Economies of size possible for rice farms in the Southern United States

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Economies of size exist in crop production if unit costs decline as per-farm crop acreage increases. The existence of economies of size is a driving force behind changes in operation size and farm productivity. Using data from 2013, rice costs per hundredweight (cwt) were summarized for size groups indicated by the number of rice acres per farm in California and in Southern U.S. rice-growing regions. In California, where rice production costs are higher than in the South, nearly all economies of size were achieved on farms with 250-499 rice acres. Farms with 250-499 acres had production costs that were 4.2 percent less than those of farms with fewer than 250 acres. However, average unit costs for rice production on California farms did not decline much more on larger farms. In the South, production costs per cwt were much the same for operations in size groups with less than 750 rice acres. However, economies of size were present for operation sizes greater than 750 rice acres. Higher cost savings on larger farms in the South suggest that the potential to further exploit economies of size is much greater than that among California farms. This chart appears in the ERS report U.S. Rice Production in the New Millennium: Changes in Structure, Practices, and Costs, released in December 2018.

China holds nearly 70 percent of global rice stocks in storage

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Rice stocks in China continue to climb, with 2018/19 marketing year ending stocks (unused rice kept in storage) projected at a record 113 million tons, or about 70 percent of the world’s stocks. By comparison, the United States is projected to hold 1.5 million tons of rice stocks. This is the 12th consecutive year of increasing stocks in China, the world’s largest rice producer and consumer. Rising commodity stocks typically indicate overproduction or reduced demand. Growing stocks can also reflect a variety of government policies. Governments may hold stocks as assurance against emergencies (such as food shortages and crop failures) or tight global supplies that could lead to global price spikes, or they may purchase large quantities of a commodity and hold it in storage to increase prices received by farmers. In general, government purchases insulate rice prices and provide price and demand stability. In line with China’s increased focus on agriculture and self-sufficiency, the Government raised rice support prices annually from 2008 to 2015, which resulted in overproduction. A version of this chart appears in the December 2018 ERS report, Rice in Asia’s Feed Markets.

Rice producers in the southern United States increased adoption of hybrid and herbicide-tolerant seed varieties between 2006 and 2013

Monday, December 10, 2018

Data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey of U.S. rice farms indicate that southern rice producers increased the planting of both hybrid and herbicide-tolerant seed between 2006 and 2013. Hybrid rice gained favor primarily because it is higher yielding than conventional rice. From 2006 to 2013, hybrid rice acreage increased in all major southern rice-producing regions. Herbicide-tolerant rice is bred to withstand applications of specific herbicides that kill targeted weeds, particularly “red rice” in the South. This feature allows producers to apply herbicides after both the rice and weeds have emerged, killing targeted weeds without harming the rice. Unlike other herbicide-tolerant crops, herbicide-tolerant rice varieties have been developed through traditional plant-breeding methods rather than genetic modification. From 2006 to 2013, herbicide-tolerant rice acreage increased from 27 to 57 percent of acres in the Arkansas Non-Delta, from 24 to 63 percent of acres in the Mississippi River Delta, and from 33 to 49 percent of acres in the Gulf Coast. These data appear in the ERS report, U.S. Rice Production in the New Millennium: Changes in Structure, Practices, and Costs.

California and Texas are home to 86 percent of all USDA-certified organic rice growers in the United States

Thursday, August 16, 2018

In June, USDA’s Organic Integrity Database (OIDB) reported 173 certified organic rice growers in the United States, 86 percent of which operate in California and Texas. The OIDB is managed by the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program and reports all USDA-certified organic operations in the United States and abroad. Arkansas, the largest conventional rice-producing State, has two certified organic growers. In 2016, the 109 certified organic rice producers in the United States accounted for 32,000 harvested acres, 140 million pounds produced, and nearly $43 million in farm sales of organic rice, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Certified Organic Survey. Compared to the previous year, 2016 U.S. organic rice acreage increased by 11 percent and production increased by 10 percent, although this still was less than 1 percent of the total 2016 U.S. rice production of over 2.2 billion pounds. This chart appears in a special article on the U.S. organic rice market in ERS’s July 2018 Rice Outlook newsletter.

U.S. rice supplies projected to reach near-record levels in 2016/17

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

U.S. supplies of rice increased 58 percent since the 1990/91 marketing year. The majority of this growth occurred in the long-grain variety, where supplies grew 67 percent, compared with 35 percent gains in short/medium grain rice. Imports make up an increasing share of supply in recent years, but still remain below 9 percent of the total. Farm prices for both rice categories were relatively stable between 1990/91 and 2006/07, but a global rice crisis in 2008 led to a significant increase in prices, particularly of the medium/short variety, which reached an average of $25 per hundredweight in 2008/09. Prices declined following the crisis, but still remain elevated relative to historic levels. Supply is projected to total 294 million hundredweight in the 2016/17 marketing year. This would be the second highest total on record for the United States, trailing only 2010/11 when record production led to 297 million hundredweight in the U.S. market. Just under half of U.S. rice supply is exported with the remainder consumed or stored domestically. This chart is drawn from data discussed in the ERS Rice Outlook report released in February 2017.

U.S. 2016/17 rice crop projected at a near-record 237.1 million cwt

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The 2016/17 U.S. rice crop is projected to reach near record levels according to USDA forecasts. The projection of 237.1 million cwt (hundredweight or cwt is equal to 100 pounds) would be the second highest rice harvest on record—following only 2010’s production of 243.1 million cwt. The forecast projects a large growth in production compared to the 2015/16 harvest, when production totaled 192.3 million cwt. The growth is due in part to a 20 percent increase in planted area (to 3.1 million acres). Factors contributing to the increased planted area include the relaxation of water use restrictions in Texas and California, a lack of more profitable planting options, and a return to more normal weather in the Mississippi Delta region. The majority of U.S. rice is produced in five states: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. This chart is based on data found in ERS’s September 2016 Rice Outlook report.

U.S. rice ending stocks could rise to the highest level in three decades

Friday, July 1, 2016

U.S. ending stocks of rice for the 2016/17 (August-July) marketing year are projected at 50.9 million hundredweight (cwt), up 19 percent from a year earlier and the highest since 1986/87. The substantial buildup in stocks is the result of a large increase in 2016/17 production that exceeds the gains expected in domestic use and exports. U.S. rice production for the 2016/17 marketing year is expected to reach 231.0 million cwt, the highest since 2010/11 and third largest on record. The bumper crop—up 20 percent from a year earlier—is primarily due to a large increase in harvested area as well as a slightly higher expected yield. At 3.06 million acres, 2016/17 plantings are up 17 percent from a year earlier and the highest since 2010/11. The substantial area increase is largely due to a return of several hundred thousand acres in the South that were not planted last year due to adverse weather, a lack of economically viable alternatives at planting time in the southern States, and an end to water restrictions in the Texas Rice Belt. The rising level of rice stocks in the United States is in contrast to the tightening stock levels currently faced by several of the world’s largest exporters—primarily India, Thailand, and Pakistan. Global ending stocks, excluding China, are expected to be down 13 percent from a year earlier, the fourth consecutive year of decline and the lowest since 2004/05. This chart is from the Rice Outlook June 2016 report.

Rice accounts for a growing share of the Haitian diet

Friday, May 20, 2016

Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world, and rice is a critical component of the Haitian diet. In 1985, the supply of rice per capita in Haiti was estimated at only 13.1 kilograms per year, well below the 31 kilograms for corn and 94 kilograms for starchy roots, historically the largest component of Haiti’s food supply. In 1986, Haiti began to open its market to imported rice, and by 2011 per-capita rice availability grew to 48 kilograms. Rice imports also changed the character of the Haitian diet, with rice now accounting for almost one-quarter of total calorie consumption. Since 1985, per-capita food availability of all foods, in calories, increased by about 11 percent, mirroring the increase in rice and resulting in improved food security. Efforts are underway in Haiti to increase its domestic agricultural output, but even with significant productivity gains, Haiti is likely to continue to rely on imported rice for a large part of its food needs. This chart is from the February 2016 report, Haiti’s U.S. Rice Imports.

U.S. rice production declined 13 percent in 2015

Friday, April 1, 2016

U.S. rice production declined 13 percent in 2015/16 (August-July) to 192.3 million hundredweight (cwt), down 29.9 cwt from a year earlier. The decline in production was the result of both smaller plantings and a lower average yield. At 2.614 million acres, 2015/16 rice plantings were 11.5 percent below a year earlier, primarily reflecting weather-related problems that included excessive rain in the Mississippi Delta early in the growing season and long-term drought in California and Texas. The U.S. average yield of 7,470 pounds per acre was 1.4 percent below a year earlier, largely due to the adverse weather in much of the South that delayed plantings and interfered with field operations during the growing season. Despite the sharp decline in the 2015 crop, U.S. supplies are projected to contract by only 5 percent due to the substantial quantity of rice that was carried over from the previous year, when production reached the fourth highest level on record due to strong prices and normal weather in the South that boosted acreage. This chart is from the Rice Outlook, March 2016.

Global rice trade is projected to decline in 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Global trade in rice is expected to decline for the second consecutive year in 2016, reflecting reduced exports from India, Australia, Cambodia, and the United States, and softening demand, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Reduced imports by Nigeria—the world’s second-largest rice import market—account for the largest share of the decline in global rice trade. Imports by Nigeria are expected to fall 17 percent in 2016, the result of a recent increase in import tariffs, declining oil revenues, and foreign exchange restrictions. Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, the European Union, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are also expected to reduce rice imports this year. The decline in global trade comes despite further growth in demand by China, the world’s largest rice importing country, as well as expanded imports by the Middle East and Indonesia. Rice imports by China have been at record high levels since 2012 and are expected to grow 4 percent in 2016, reflecting prices that are lower in the global market than the domestic market, stock-building efforts by the government, and quality concerns regarding domestic rice.

Imported rice supports food security in Haiti

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rice is a critical component of the Haitian diet and access to adequate supplies of rice is a vital food-security objective of the Government of Haiti. Haiti began to open its market to imported rice in 1986, and the greater availability of rice allowed consumption to grow. Today rice consumption in Haiti accounts for about 23 percent of the total calories consumed each day. Rice production in Haiti has stagnated for decades, reflecting low productivity and poor access to financing, technology and skilled labor, so all of the growth in rice consumption since 1996 has been supplied by imports, which now account for 80 to 90 percent of rice consumption. The United States is the primary supplier of rice to Haiti, and Haitians have demonstrated a clear preference for U.S. long-grain varieties, greatly preferring them over cheaper Asian varieties. Efforts are underway to improve agricultural performance, but even with significant productivity gains, Haiti is likely to continue to rely on imports of rice for a significant part of its food needs. This chart is from the report Haiti’s U.S. Rice Imports.

Global rice stocks are declining

Friday, December 4, 2015

Rice consumption worldwide is expected to exceed production for the third consecutive year in 2015/16, resulting in the smallest global ending stocks since the 2007/08 marketing year. Ending stocks among the world’s five leading rice exporters—India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and the United States—are projected down a combined 33 percent from last year and 47 percent below the peak levels of 2012/13. These countries account for the bulk of the decline in global stocks. The last time stocks were near these levels in 2007/08, prices rose to their highest nominal level on record, prompted by export bans by Egypt, India, and Vietnam and fears of rice shortages in countries where rice is a staple food. Today the market situation is far different, with global rice prices relatively flat since late August 2015 after trending lower for the previous several years. However, the low stocks held by major exporters suggest that in the event of a major weather problem in any large rice consuming country, prices could rise rapidly since little surplus rice would be available to meet consumer needs. This chart is from the November 2015 Rice Outlook report.

Thailand's rice production at lowest level since 2004/05

Monday, August 31, 2015

Thailand’s 2015/16 rice production (January/December marketing year) is forecast down 4 percent from last year and will be the lowest since 2004/05. The production decline is due to a second consecutive year of drought and resulting low reservoir levels. Planted area is forecast to fall to 10.2 million hectares for 2015/16, down from 10.92 million in 2013/14, before the current drought began; yields have dropped as well. The USDA area forecast was lowered in August based on Government statements informing growers that they will receive only 50 percent of normal dry-season irrigation water due to the low reservoir levels. In addition to less-than-adequate rainfall in 2014, less-than-normal rainfall at the beginning of the 2015 monsoon season in the central growing region in May and June also contributed to the low reservoir levels. This is the second consecutive year of a drought-reduced rice crop in Thailand. Thailand is typically the largest or near-largest rice exporting country, but exports for the 2015 calendar year are forecast about 18 percent below last year. Exports are forecast to rebound in 2016, but continued low reservoir levels and limited availability of irrigation water could impact the upcoming crop and export prospects. This chart is from the August 2015 Rice Outlook report

U.S. rice production is projected to decline 6 percent in 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rice acreage for 2015 is estimated at 2.77 million acres, down 6 percent from last year and 5 percent from March planting intentions. Rice acreage is down in all major producing States, reflecting low prices—especially for long-grain varieties—as well as drought in California, a cool and wet spring across much of the South, and continued water restrictions in Texas. California is reporting the largest percentage decline (11 percent) in rice area, which is the lowest since 1991/92. The 2015 decline follows a 23-percent reduction in rice acreage last year. The large, multi-year declines in California rice area reflect 4 consecutive years of severe drought. Growers in Texas have also faced tightening water restrictions for the past 4 years, and 2015 acreage is down around 20 percent from pre-drought levels, leaving it with the smallest acreage of any rice-producing State. Arkansas—the largest rice-producing State—accounts for more than half of the decline in U.S. rice area this year, with a drop in acreage of more than 6 percent. Arkansas produces both long-grain and medium-grain rice; low prices and unfavorable weather are behind a 9-percent decline in long-grain plantings, while medium-grain plantings in Arkansas increased 25,000 acres (12 percent) this year due to the expectation of favorable prices caused by California’s medium-grain shortfall. Louisiana and Mississippi are also reporting declines in rice acreage this year. This chart is from the July 2015 Rice Outlook report.

Global rice prices continue to decline

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Global rice prices have fallen more than 14 percent over the past 8 months, recently hitting their lowest level since January 2008. Thailand’s global benchmark price was $389 per ton for the week ending May 18, down from $455 in late September; U.S. rice prices have declined at about the same rate. Several factors have contributed to this steep decline: the Government of Thailand selling its record high stock of rice; continued abundance of exportable rice, despite a smaller global rice crop and lower global ending stocks in 2014/15; and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, which has put downward pressure on global rice prices, since rice is typically traded in dollars. Meanwhile, low oil prices have reduced the buying capacity of several major importers, especially Venezuela and several Middle Eastern buyers, and none of the major Asian rice importers—Indonesia, the Philippines, or Bangladesh—have experienced a crop shortfall that would boost imports. This chart is based on the report, Rice Outlook: May 2015.

Global stocks of rice are tightening in 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Global ending stocks of most agricultural commodities, including feedgrains, oilseeds, wheat, and cotton are expected to reach multi-year highs in 2015. Ample supplies are reflected in prices that are well below the record levels of just a few years ago. Rice is an exception, with global ending stocks projected to decline for the second year in a row to reach their lowest level since the 2009/10 marketing year (August/July). At the same time, global use continues to grow, led by consumption growth in China, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and several other nations. As a result, the global stocks-to-use ratio is projected at just over 20 percent, the lowest it has been since 2007/08, a time when international concern over high commodity and food prices led several of the world’s leading rice producing and consuming countries to restrict exports and increase government-owned rice reserves. These actions resulted in a rapid rise in global rice prices and reduced trade. Today, even though global stocks are approaching levels that prompted substantial trade restrictions in early 2008, prices are lower and global rice trade remains at near-record levels. This chart is from the April 2015 Rice Outlook.

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