Global rice production is projected at a new record of 480.7 million tonnes in 2016/17, with significant increases for South and Southeast Asia and the United States, but consumption is forecast to rise moderately, the United States Agriculture Department (USDA) said in its latest monthly report.
It projected trade in the commodity to be lower as improved crops in importing countries reduce demand. U.S. exports are projected higher on ample supplies and improved price competitiveness. Declines in exporter stocks are offset by increases in China, it said.
Global production is projected to rebound to a record 480.7 million tons. China and India, which together account for over half of global production, are forecast to have larger crops.
Production in Southeast Asia, accounting for nearly another quarter, is projected to recover with an easing of the El Niño weather pattern, and to reduce import needs in the region.
Africa’s crop is forecast to reach a record. In South America, production is projected to rebound due to notable increases for Argentina and Brazil. The U.S. crop is forecast to be higher on expanded area, and is set to be the third largest on record, the report said.
It said global consumption continues to rise, though the growth is modest. Per capita food use is growing in many African countries, but declining in a number of Asian countries.
Notably, feed use is expected to increase in certain Asian markets, including Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, the report said.
According to the report, global ending stocks are projected to rise only marginally due to steady consumption growth.
Ending stocks for Thailand are forecast down nearly 50 percent at just over 3 million tons, the lowest since 2007/08. Additionally, India’s stocks are forecast at 11 million, down more than 15 percent and the lowest since 2005/06. China’s stocks have risen sharply, as growth in imports and production has exceeded that of consumption. Amid a near-record crop and intense export competition, U.S. ending stocks are forecast to reach the highest level since the 1980s.
Among key import markets in 2017, a combination of self-sufficiency aspirations, higher domestic production, and trade restrictions are expected to reduce reliance on imported rice, the report said, adding that of the top buyers, only China’s imports are forecast to remain stable (around 5.0 million tons).
Despite record production and growing stocks, the difference in prices between China and bordering countries will likely incentivise steady trade. For Nigeria, however, trade is forecast to continue to decline as economic and foreign exchange challenges persist and the country imposes import restrictions.
In 2017, forecast crop recovery for Indonesia and the Philippines is expected to reduce imports below levels expected during 2016.
Selected importers for 2017
- Bangladesh is forecast up 150,000 tons to 500,000 from the prior year, as steady consumption and declining stocks encourage additional imports.
- Brazil is forecast down 100,000 tons to 600,000 because of a larger crop and ample supplies for domestic consumption.
- China is stable at 5.0 million tons as favorable prices in neighboring countries continue to encourage cross-border trade. Cote d’Ivoire is projected down 100,000 tons to 900,000 on prospects for a larger crop.
- EU is forecast to remain at 1.6 million tons amid steady consumption.
- Indonesia is forecast to decline 750,000 tons to 1.3 million as higher production prospects reduce the need for imports. Consumption remains relatively flat, while stocks decline slightly.
- Iran is forecast to remain at 1.5 million tons, limited by current financial challenges and despite a growing population.
- Iraq is expected to remain flat at 1.2 million tons supported by government distribution and private-sector purchases.
- Malaysia is forecast up 30,000 tons to 1.1 million.
- Nigeria is projected down 300,000 tons to 2.0 million on continued government policies to limit foreign exchange use for rice purchases and to restrict transit via land borders.
- The Philippines is cut 300,000 tons to 1.5 million on adequate carry-in stocks and a projected recovery in production from the 2015/16 crop, which suffered negative effects of El Niño.
- Saudi Arabia is expected up 50,000 tons to 1.5 million tons on continued demand for basmati rice.
- Senegal is projected flat at 990,000 tons on steady demand for broken rice from India and Thailand.
- South Africa is forecast down 75,000 tons to 925,000 as an expected recovery in corn production reduces demand for rice.
- Turkey is projected up 75,000 tons to 275,000 as declining stocks necessitate imports to satisfy consumption.
- The United States is forecast up 25,000 tons to 775,000 on higher demand for fragrant rice.
- Venezuela is forecast to remain at 400,000 tons as financial challenges constrain imports from regional suppliers.
For 2017, global exports are forecast down for the third consecutive year, sliding from a record 44.1 million tons in 2014 to 40.7 million in the upcoming year. Declining shipments for leading exporters India and Thailand more than offset increases for Vietnam, Pakistan, and the United States.
A number of factors contribute to the decline, most notably lower demand from many top importers. In addition, tightening stocks, particularly in Thailand and India, constrain exportable supplies.
U.S. exports are projected up for 2017, on greater exportable supplies and lower prices. Beyond the traditional destinations, U.S. rice exporters may need to return to previously held markets and identify new customers in an effort to ship substantial supplies amid tight competition with regional suppliers.
Selected exporters for 2017
- Argentina is forecast up 120,000 tons to 600,000 from the prior year due to a larger crop and the new administration’s removal of export tariffs.
- Brazil is projected up 50,000 tons to 800,000 due to crop recovery and sufficient exportable supplies.
- Burma is forecast up 50,000 tons to 1.9 million on higher demand from regional markets.
- Cambodia is projected up 150,000 tons to 1.1 million, on a larger crop and continued demand from neighboring countries and the EU.
- India is forecast down 500,000 tons to 8.5 million, with smaller exportable supplies and strong domestic demand.
- Pakistan is projected down 150,000 tons to 4.3 million, as it faces lower carry-in stocks and continued competition with India for basmati markets.
- Thailand is forecast down 800,000 tons to 9.0 million, as stocks continue to decline and exportable supplies are reduced.
- The United States is forecast up 275,000 tons to 3.6 million on larger supplies and improved price competitiveness.
- Vietnam is unchanged at 7.0 million tons on steady demand from China and Southeast Asia.