The forecast for China rice imports for 2021/22 (July/June) marketing year has been raised by 500,000 tons to 5.2 million tons, the highest since 2018/19, mostly on higher demand for broken rice from India, the USDA said.
So far, imports from July 2021 through February 2022 have totaled 3.5 million tons, up 36 percent compared to the same period in 2020/21, inciting the increase for the forecast, it said in its latest monthly report.
Traditionally, China imports rice from Vietnam, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Thailand. The largest contributor to import growth this marketing year is India, which prior to 2020/21 only supplied around 50,000 tons per year, as market access was restricted to basmati rice.
Since obtaining access for non-basmati, India has been exporting in larger quantities. During the first 8 months of 2020/21, China imported about 60,000 tons from India, the USDA said, adding that during the same timeframe in 2021/22, China’s imports from India surged to 870,000 tons.
“Overall, China’s milled rice imports are slightly higher during this period in 2021/22, spurred by competitive prices. However, broken rice imports have nearly doubled compared to the same time last year,” the USDA said.
While broken rice is being supplied by all the traditional suppliers, the main contributor to the growth is India, accounting for nearly half of China’s broken rice imports, the USDA report said, adding that broken rice is inexpensive and can be affordably imported outside of the tariff-rate quota, as it only attracts a 10 percent tariff.
Demand for broken rice is being driven in large part by attractive import prices. Most of it is likely destined for feed, in part substituting for corn in feed rations. In addition, some broken rice is used for processed foods and liquor manufacturing, the USDA said.