Volume 17, Issue 21
May 28, 2020
In This Issue:
  • USDA's Certified Acres Report on June 30th Indicates Actual Crop Numbers
  • USRPA Supports Removing Duty-Free Benefits for Foreign Rice
USDA's Certified Acres Report on June 30th Indicates Actual Crop Numbers
The rice market has continued to steadily progress through the summer doldrums with very little change in reality, but significant trepidation and uncertainty looming on the horizon for harvest.

The weekly export sales figures have been delayed for the week due to the U.S. Memorial Day holiday. There is very little volume left in first hands and as such, the reported sales are attributable to the merchandisers and resellers that are liquidating their inventories. Sale registrations should be expected to taper off for new crop as these stocks dwindle, leading into new crop.

Vessel loadings are similarly expected to surge and then fall off through July for the same reasons. Export sales have been strong of recent date, due to increased demand in overseas markets as well as a more advantageous USD exchange rate.

Exports should pick up the pace again in July/August as buyers look to cover near term shortfalls and will most likely stabilize into September when the main crop harvest begins.

Competitive Asian pricing has appreciated somewhat over the last report, with modest gains being noted in all benchmark origins. These price changes are a result of the changing exchange rate to some extent but is more reflexive of greater competition in the global marketplace in conjunction with an uncertain near-term supply situation due to the coronavirus in the region. As a consequence, USDA has raised its world market price estimate for the week for both classes of rice.

We understand the federal government (Economy, Agriculture departments) of Mexico are meeting with rice mills and producers with regards to concerns for consumer prices. Food security is a constant conversation among Mexican government officials, particularly the higher than normal consumer prices of $1.00 - $1.10 dollars per kilo. The current dollar-peso exchange is 22.80-23 pesos per dollar. This week’s meetings are to decide if Mexico will open their market to Asian milled rice with a duty-free quota. Mexico is the largest market for U.S. long grain rice.

Domestically, the rice crop in the South is largely on schedule with favorable weather to boot. Texas and Louisiana have seen sporadic heading across the region, while Mississippi is progressing at earlier stages. The Upper Delta is experiencing unfavorable rains and flooding, which has impeded the planting of the crop in that area. Some early accounts indicate that Arkansas has planted less than 80% of its intended acres to this point, and with the crop insurance deadlines looming this may cause a supply side reduction later in the year. Regardless, this later planted rice will likely not yield reductions at the least.

From a pricing standpoint, there has been minimal trading over the week in light of the aforementioned uncertainties. Texas has seen low volumes of new crop committed at $13.80 while Louisiana reports small but consistent sales near the $14.20/hundredweight delivered. Buyers in both regions have indicated lower pricing but sellers are entrenched at these higher levels. Even higher numbers are likely through the early part of harvest due to supply and demand constraints, although pricing should stabilize in the latter part of the harvest when these problems are minimized. No commitments of note are being reported from the Upper Delta at this time.

In the futures market, rice has reported a stronger performance for the week on stronger average volume and open interest. Gains for the week ranged from 2.3% - 5% on the open contracts. The old crop contracts continue to feel the buying pressure as market longs are seeking rice and deliveries. New crop contracts have been responding as well as the market seeks to ascertain when and if the upward pressure will mitigate.

As the month comes to a close there are several key reports (in addition to the weekly crop progress reports) that will be published in June that are worth watching. The first will be the WASDE report which will give a further glimpse into the new crop projections as well as a forecast regarding the export volume. June 30 th will see the certified acres report from USDA which will catalogue the total acreage actually planted and certified across the country. Moving forward, this will take one variable out of the projection equation and as such is a very important report.
USRPA Supports Removing Duty-Free Benefits for Foreign Rice
This week USRPA submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative in support of removing duty-free benefits for foreign rice entering the U.S. under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). GSP provides the opportunity for many of the world’s poorest countries to use preferential trade access to the U.S. to grow their economies and climb out of poverty. Access for rice under GSP means that rice from developing countries enters the U.S. duty-free, and not all of those countries play by the rules of fair competition.

Recent estimates show that 20 percent of rice consumed in the U.S. is of foreign origin. As U.S. farmers struggle to maintain and grow new markets for U.S. rice, granting duty-free access to foreign competitors is short-sighted. In 2019, foreign countries shipped duty-free rice in an amount valued over $2.2 million to the United States, an amount that increased almost 60 percent from 2018 shipments. Most of the duty-free rice came from Cambodia, which shipped rice valued at more than $2 million in 2019, an increase of 76% from 2018 rice shipments to the U.S.

“USRPA urges USTR to address the trade-distorting practices of countries that unfairly subsidize rice production and exports, compromising market access and price for U.S. rice,” USRPA stated in the comments which were co-signed by affiliate state organizations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, California and Texas. “GSP is a unilateral program accorded by the U.S. government without receiving reciprocal access for U.S. products in the partner country,” USRPA continued.

USTR will decide whether to remove duty-free benefits for foreign rice entering the U.S. by November 1.
Follow #OurFarmers During #Plant2020
It’s planting season, and our team is closely following spring planting across the country. We encourage you to follow along with our  #plant2020 campaign , or even better, send us photos of how planting is going on your farm.
Upcoming Events
June 10, 2020
IGC Grains Virtual Conference 2020
For regular updates web: www.igc.int

July 1, 2020
H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station Annual Field Day
Crowley, Louisiana. Tours early in the morning, followed by presentations inside. Check back later for more information.

July 9, 2020 (Virtual)
73rd Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1509 Aggie Drive in Beaumont, Texas. More details to come.

July 23, 2020
University of Arkansas Row Crops Field Day
Rohwer Research Station
140 Experiment Station Loop, Watson, Arkansas – check back later for more information.

August 5, 2020
University of Arkansas Row Crops Field Day
Northeast Research & Extension Center
1241 W. County Road 780, Keiser, Arkansas – check back later for more information.

August 7, 2020
University of Arkansas Rice Field Day
Rice Research & Extension Center, Stuttgart, Arkansas – check back later for more information.
Legislative Update
Dr. Jarrod Hardke, Dr. Trent Roberts, & Scott Stiles

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