In the U.S. Delta, the situation is better. Rice mills are running at full capacity to service the domestic market. Some paddy supplies in the Delta are still available. Overall, the 2000/01 crop year is winding down and attention is now focused on the new crop, which is currently trading at lower than usual rates in the futures market. The U.S. rice crop is almost finished with the planting phase in all states, and is advancing well in most areas.
After moving higher for several weeks, Vietnamese rice prices stabilized and have started to move lower since mid-May. A decrease in fresh orders, bumper Vietnamese stocks, and news that Iraq will extend the shipment period on 250,000 tons by six months is causing the downward pressure. Price support remains from continuing solid export loadings, and government intervention activity. Additionally, large Vietnamese farmers are hoping to achieve higher prices by holding back supply. The main destinations for Vietnamese exports are the Philippines, Africa, and Cuba.
Thai rice prices are steady to marginally lower on slow fresh demand. Like Vietnam, activity in the market is centered on shipments of already concluded sales. Shipments of broken rice to Africa, parboiled rice to Nigeria, and 25% broken rice for the Philippines have helped to support prices despite large government owned stocks and large harvest totals this year. Thailand exported 2.51 million tons of rice between January 1-May 29. The figure represents an increase of approximately 6% from export totals during the same period in 2000.
A delegation from Iran is scheduled to hold talks with the Thai government about a possible purchase of 200,000 tons of Thai 100%B. Recent government negotiations with Russia, Indonesia, China, North Korea and Malaysia have yet to result in any sales.
Prices in Pakistan continue to climb as rice stocks tighten. Faced with water shortages, farmers and traders expect delayed planting and harvest, and smaller output. The rice crop is normally harvested between September and November. Exporters are unable to offer large tonnage due to the limited supply, and new orders have virtually disappeared.
Following several delays, the Indian government has released the export prices for the 3 million tons of stockpiled rice recently authorized for export. Based on the government prices, exporters are offering 25% broken rice at approximately $140 per ton FOB. Given large supplies, low prices and limited global demand, outlets for Indian rice look limited. Demand from neighboring Bangladesh will be minimal due to improved production and new import restrictions for rice.
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