Volume 17, Issue 44
November 5, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Rice Prices Holding Steady
  • White House Curbs Trade Preference for Parboiled Rice Imports
  • Sabor USA's Healthy Fest
Rice Prices Holding Steady
With harvest complete, all focus has turned to selling this year’s augmented crop. The frenzy of the Brazil business has now subsided, and traders are now looking to the Iraq Grain Board for a tender announcement. While paddy exports still remain behind schedule, the pent-up demand to Mexico is finally coming to bear which should help move the market along. The milled business to Haiti has been on schedule but won’t be enough to compensate for the slower domestic demand on account of school, restaurant, and travel restrictions throughout the country because of COVID. The outlook remains positive, but that could change if we don’t see business materialize to Iraq in the near term.

Despite the market being eager for more price discovery, the cash market continued to trade sideways throughout most of the delta this week. In Louisiana, growers wanting to participate in the Brazilian sales have now done so, removing some of the recent urgency and excitement in the market. With the second vessel loading this week and ready to sail soon, there now seems to be very little buying interest. Fortunately, there is just enough interest in most US paddy markets to hold prices steady, however, that can change if other export destinations become slower to engage.  

Trade with Mexico still lags substantially behind last year’s demand, currently down 45% year to date. Since Brazil will be unable to source rice to Mexico in this marketing year, that frees up more market share for US, unless Asian milled rice is able to infiltrate the market. There has been considerable talks between US exporters and importers in this particular market, so most expect to see something materialize in the near future. As for the milled market, despite the Iraqi Grain Board being in talks with US exporters to source at least 30,000 MT, there has yet to be any significant action on that front. Last year at this time, this destination had already booked 150,000 MT. 

In Asia, prices have steadily declined since August, with Vietnam being the only real exception. Prices rallied slightly two weeks ago and held this week, which point to some stabilization in the short run. Although prices in these origins have edged lower, the FAO Food Price Index continues to trend upward. World food prices are up 6% from last year, and have reached their highest levels since 2020 on rising sugar, dairy, cereals and vegetable oil prices. The appreciating cereal prices are attributed to poor growing conditions in Argentina as well as drier conditions impeding winter wheat production in Europe, North America and the Black Sea Region. 

Ultimately, for the US rice prices to improve, importers such as Haiti, Mexico and Iraq need to ramp up their purchases, otherwise the market could see further softening as the New Year approaches. Futures activities supports this theory as well, where the nearby contracts seem to be oscillating around $12.40 per cwt.
White House Curbs Trade Preference for Parboiled Rice Imports
In a presidential proclamation issued Friday, Oct. 30th, the White House announced removal of parboiled rice (HTS 1006.30.10) from the list of goods that are eligible for benefits under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program. The tariff modification will result in increasing duties from zero to 11.2 percent effective Nov. 1, 2020 for parboiled rice imports, which represent about 90 percent of rice imported under GSP. USRPA supported removal of trade preferences for parboiled rice imports in a letter submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative in May 2020. 

U.S. imports of parboiled rice come from a variety of countries. The principal countries affected by this change include Brazil, Pakistan, Argentina, Paraguay, and Thailand. Specifically, 20 percent of Brazil’s rice imports to the United States are parboiled rice. In addition, Pakistani parboiled rice represents over 20 percent of U.S. parboiled imports, an increase of 162 percent from 2018 to 2019, occurring during the timeframe that India lost its GSP status. India was previously the largest beneficiary of the trade preferences for parboiled rice imports. The White House further acted to suspend approximately one-sixth of Thailand’s trade from the program due to its lack of sufficient progress providing the United States with equitable and reasonable market access for pork products. 

Domestic U.S. parboiled rice supplies more than 90 percent of U.S. parboiled rice market demand, but rice imports are generally growing, a trend that U.S. rice producers have been assiduously monitoring due to concerns surrounding displaced markets.  

USRPA welcomes the announcement and will continue to monitor the situation surrounding rice imports.

Access the full presidential proclamation here.

Access the full USTR press release here.

Access USRPA’s letter supporting the rice petition here.
Sabor USA's Healthy Fest
The US Rice Producers Association and USA Rice participated Sabor USA's 2020 Virtual Healthy Fest on October 28th. The activity was organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote American products locally.

USRPA and USARF have coordinated efforts to participated in previous years. This year, due to COVID-19, the event went virtual for the first time.

Chef Ambassador Jesus Flores prepared a Countryside Style rice dish using American long grain rice, along with garlic, onion, chicken broth, olive oil and capers. The video recipe was posted on the Sabor USA fan page.

Watch the video below:
Upcoming Events
November 17, 2020
Virtual Field Trip: An Introduction to Agricultural Sustainability

December 2-3, 2020

December 10, 2020
2nd RMTC Virtual Session

February 21, 2021
Virtual NCS Cotton & Rice Conference
Food and Agriculture
Regulatory and Policy Roundup
FAO Rice
Price Update

The FAO All Rice Price Index (2014-2016=100) averaged 108.6 points in October 2020, down 2.7 percent from September and its lowest level in seven months.
Secretary Perdue Statement on DOL’s H2A Wage Rule
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new H2A Wage Rule, which delivers on President Trump’s promise to stabilize farm labor costs and reform the H-2A wage rate.

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