World rice production in 2019/20 seen lower on smaller crops in China, India

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Global rice production, area, and yield in 2019/20 are forecast lower from the prior year’s record, but still slightly above 2017/18, with the highest projected reductions for the two largest-producing countries, China and India, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its latest report.

The United States is also projected to have smaller planted area and production, the report said, adding that the largest year-to-year increases are for Thailand and Laos, with significant production growth also expected for Bangladesh, Indonesia, Burma, and Vietnam.

According to the USDA, world consumption is set to increase slightly by 1 percent, with the largest increases forecast for India and China. Food use accounts for the bulk of rice consumption. In some regions where rice per-capita consumption has traditionally been high, particularly in Asia, people are consuming less rice as their diets diversify (i.e. South Korea, Japan). In contrast, in many African countries, rice consumption is rising, especially in urban areas.

  • For 2019/20, global rice production is forecast down with smaller crops in top-producing countries China and India.
  • In contrast, global consumption is forecast to rise, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where affordable Asian rice is growing as a staple for a rising population.
  • Global trade is forecast at a near-record level, with India continuing to dominate exports.
  • Notably, while China is the top importer, it has also grown in prominence as a significant exporter.
  • Global stocks are up, with China accounting for 68 percent of the total. The increase in stocks, both globally and in China, is the smallest in a decade.

Global supplies are forecast to slightly exceed use; therefore, global 2019/20 ending stocks are forecast up slightly, the USDA said, pointing out that this would be the first time in 13 years that stocks would not grow significantly.

“China is forecast to account for nearly 70 percent of global stocks. Its stocks are only expected to rise by 2 million tons, the smallest annual increase in a decade, on account of a smaller crop, rising exports, and continued auctions of government reserves,” the report said.

India stocks to rise; country to be biggest exporter

Stocks in India are expected to continue to climb and far exceed the desired buffer stocks level, ensuring ample export capacity. Government stocks in Thailand have dwindled, but private sector stocks are forecast to rise slightly amid intense export competition.

The Philippines is forecast to increase its stocks amid larger crops. Meanwhile, the third- and fourth-largest producers Indonesia and Bangladesh are forecast to have marginal declines in ending stocks but are expected to remain relatively minor importers.

Ending stocks for the United States are forecast to continue increasing but at a slower pace. U.S. ending stocks are forecast at the highest level since 1985/86. For 2020, trade is forecast up 3 percent to 48 million tons, around the 2017 level.

The report said that the largest import demand growth is forecast in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, whereas imports for Southeast Asia are expected to decline.

India will remain the top exporter, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan. Meanwhile, China is expected to continue as a rising exporter while also remaining the top importer. In the Western Hemisphere, U.S. exports are projected up, whereas Guyana and Uruguay are forecast flat and Argentina and Brazil are expected to decline

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