Volume 17, Issue 25
June 25, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Market Update: Early Harvest Anticipated Along the Gulf Coast
  • Immigration Executive Order
  • USRPA's Social Media Campaign Reaches New Audience
Market Update: Early Harvest Anticipated Along the Gulf Coast
The growing season continues across the U.S. unabated even as weather patterns and market conditions shift from the previous weeks’ trends. In the export sales report this week, it was another net negative week, with sales reductions more than offsetting new sales registries, as was the case two weeks ago, while not terribly encouraging, it is not terribly surprising either. There is a dearth of rice left in the supply chain to sell, and until new crop harvest mitigates the shortfall, it is possible, if not likely, that further “negative” weeks will be seen. 

Exports against old sales have continued apace with only modest decreases since the last report. Benchmark pricing in Asia has contracted ever so slightly from last week, largely on exchange rate related factors. Very little fundamental drivers are in play at this time in the Asian sphere as the market waits and watches to see what the global economy and the potential threat of a second COVID outbreak may bring. USDA responded to these elements by reducing their world market price estimate for the week for both classes of rice. 

Domestically, very little has changed from a pricing standpoint with both buyers and sellers entrenched in their positions for new crop. Buyers anticipate a price retraction after new crop comes online while sellers insist that the first lots will be sold at a premium. Both positions are valid, but the ability of overseas suppliers to make up the gap will determine to what degree a fresh influx of supply will suppress the market. 

Production-wise, the crop across the South looks very good as some growers suggest that this will be the best production in years. Despite struggling with weather concerns early season, the Upper Delta production is on track as well. As the harvest window nears, the first fields in Texas may see a combine as early as mid-July. 

Futures action for the week has seen the nearby July contract continue to converge on the September as the spread has narrowed over the week. This is comforting for many traders as proof that the market is still behaving as it should. With the exception of the nearby contract, the remaining contracts on the board appreciated in price by around 1% from last week’s close. Both average daily volume and open interest were lower at the market close. 

Next week sees the end of June and the advent of several important market components. The June certified acreage report will be released showing the actual FSA numbers. These figures will remove one of the estimated variables from the balance sheet in the July WASDE. Additionally, the July futures contract will be giving way to the September, marking the transition into a true “new crop” futures month as the nearby. Barring any unforeseen weather events, the marketing season will begin in earnest over the coming weeks.
Immigration Executive Order
On June 22 nd, President Trump issued an executive order suspending the issuance of any H-1B visas (visas that are used for skilled workers) , H-2B visas (visas that apply to seasonal workers), H-4 visas ( visas are given to spouses of H-1B visa holders), L-1 visas (visas are used for executives transferring to the United States from positions abroad with the same employer), and certain J-1 visas (visas are given to researchers, scholars and other specialized categories such as au pairs) for the rest of 2020, as an attempt to address the high unemployment numbers that came as a result of COVID-19. The order does not apply to those already in the United States, and it gives the Administration some flexibility in creating other exceptions. For example, immigrants applying for visas to provide labor "essential to the United States food supply chain" are exempt. Individuals "whose entry would be in the national interests" as determined by the federal government are exempt, as well. O n April 22 ordered a 60-day freeze on several categories of family and employment-based immigration visas, limits that have now been extended through the end of 2020.  
USRPA's Social Media Campaign Reaches New Audience
USRPA and ARROZGUA’s Social Media campaign has been very active all through June, the USA Arroz Facebook Fan Page analysis reported an increase in the number of followers not only in Guatemala but also in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, USA, Argentina, and Bolivia. This campaign allows us to go beyond a single sector since social media networks span across the world.
The campaign consists of sharing rice recipes, nutritional information, and videos where our chefs demonstrate several recipes as main dishes, side dishes, beverages, and desserts featuring U.S. grown rice, emphasizing its nutritional value. Also, twice a week, a live interactive virtual cooking course is hosted on the Facebook fan page, as always, emphasizing the message of consuming U.S. long-grain rice in their daily diet.
The social media campaign will continue throughout the year.
Upcoming Events
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 8, 2020
Horizon Ag Louisiana Field Day, 5:00 p m
Richard Farm Shop, 5632 Louisiana Highway 700, Kaplan, Louisiana
For more information, please call Horizon Ag at 866-237-6167.

July 9, 2020 (Virtual)
73rd Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Rice Field Day
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. via Zoom

July 9, 2020 (Virtual)
Impacts of the Transportation System on Agricultural Products
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. via Webinar Link

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.
June 30 Last Day to Complete Enrollment for 2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2020 – Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2020 must do so by June 30.
Legislative Update
In 2019, exports of U.S. agricultural and related products to Mexico totaled $18.6 billion, which demonstrates a more than 47 percent increase over the last 10 years. Mexico remains one of the largest and most consistent markets for U.S. agricultural products and especially for food processing ingredients.
Post has adjusted area planted, area harvested, and production numbers based on the final data received from Morocco’s citrus producer federation. MY 2019/20 export numbers are revised based on available trade data.

The Singapore food retail sector is highly developed and competitive. Industry analysts report total retail food sales surpassed $6 billion USD in 2019. Top prospective U.S. products for the Singaporean food retail market include dairy products, processed vegetables, snack foods, meats, wine and beer
Rice export prices further increased 1-2 percent as exporters had to cover their exchange rate risk from the strengthening of the Thai baht.  
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry announced that production and import of 16 active substances which are used in production of plant protection products has been banned over a transitional period.
Fall armyworm (FAW) was detected in Vietnam in 2019 and infected over 35,000 hectares of corn during the 2019 corn planting seasons. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), research institutes, and industry stakeholders put in place a series of recommendations and technical seminars to combat FAW. In 2020, Vietnam has seen a reduction in heavily affected areas as well as an increase in planting of insect-resistant biotech corn varieties, although the FAW threat remains. 
Iraqi grain production may not rebound in a similar pattern in MY 2020/21 as it did in MY 2019/20 due to a shortage of rainfall coupled with impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Iraq’s oil-dependent economy and movement restrictions that limit the ability for farmers to cultivate their grain. Rice production is forecast to decline due to limited availability of water. Grain food and feed consumption are forecast to rise on population growth and growing demand for meat and dairy products fueling the Iraqi livestock sector.
Peru’s food retail market is adapting to the economic hardships and realities arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. FAS Lima foresees a long-term recuperation since this sector is not yet mature and has room to keep growing. The market currently holds over 640 convenience stores and 279 conventional supermarkets. The sector’s expansion strategy targets Lima’s lower to middle income districts. E-commerce is expected growth but still has logistics issues to overcome. 
Philippine economic planners expect the gross domestic product to contract by 2.0 to 3.4 percent in 2020 due to the strict quarantine conditions in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A government-to-government auction for 300,000 tons of rice was held on June 8, 2020 with bids coming from India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar, but the winning bids have yet to be awarded. Post concurs with the official USDA grain estimates. 
This is an update of the 2019 report. In 2019, U.S. consumer-oriented products exported to Guatemala reached a record $567 million. Walmart is currently the largest supermarket chain in Guatemala. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically affected the Guatemalan retail industry in early 2020.

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