Global rice trade and supply will reach a new record in calendar year 2012, according to Nathan Childs, senior rice market analyst at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service. Childs, who spoke during the morning program of the 2012 USA Rice Outlook Conference, said huge long-grain shipments from top rice exporters India and Vietnam to West Africa and China (largely due to low prices and available supplies) will result in a record trade year, with 38.5 million tons exported globally. Global ending stocks for 2012 are down 3 percent from 2011/12, but are at the second-highest level in a decade. Yield will also reach record highs.
U.S. rice production is up 7 percent this year, Childs said, but this year's rice crop is one of the smallest in many years, with increased area in Arkansas and Missouri and all other rice states having a decline in acreage.
Globally, medium-grain exports have also had a strong export year, with Australia rebounding from years of drought with strong export supplies. Turkey is the only large medium-grain export market for U.S. rice, Childs said.
USDA projects a decline in U.S. rice acreage in 2013/14, smaller growth in total imports and much tighter supplies due largely to an anticipated decrease in planted acreage.