Global rice production in 2011/2012 is forecast at record levels, according to this month's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services' Grain: World Markets and Trade report. The prediction is driven by governments of many importing and exporting countries promoting rice production by subsidizing input costs or purchasing local paddy to boost farm gate prices.
Meanwhile, expanding population has driven increasing demand. Stocks held by major exporters -- particularly Vietnam, the United States, and India -- are expected to remain large. Global trade is estimated to reach a new record on strong worldwide demand, especially from the Philippines.
On the supply side, Pakistan is expected to recover from last year's floods and large exportable supplies are forecast out of Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia.