Rice export prices rise to 3.5-month high
Vietnam exported 1.48 million tons of rice worth $715 million in the first three months this year, up 24 percent in volume and 10.5 percent in value against the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The ministry said stable global demand and high transportation costs resulted in March’s price hike.
Vietnam’s 5 percent broken rice was sold at $415-420 per ton in late March, up $20 per ton from the beginning of the month. On average, the rice has cost $414 per ton in the world market in March, up $16 per ton against February.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s 5 percent broken standard rice was sold at $408-412 a ton, down $16 from the beginning of the month as the baht continued to drop against the dollar.
Vietnam exported over 6.2 million tons of rice for nearly $3.3 billion last year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The average export price of Vietnamese rice rose 5.5 percent in 2020 to $526.8 per ton in 2021, according to the agriculture ministry.
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Drop in pricesThe drop in prices was attributed to stepped up arrivals at mills which resulted in farmers waiting for their turn for two or three days to dispose of the stocks. The initial arrival of crops that were harvested a fortnight ago which were in smaller quantities fetched good prices for farmers. On the other hand, the Food Corporation of India has refused to accept custom milled rice of 2020-21 rabi season after March 31 though the State government wanted the deadline to be extended by two months.
Union Minister of State for Tourism G. Kishan Reddy said that the State government was yet to meet its target of 2020-21 rabi despite several reminders. The Centre will keep its commitment to the State for 2020-21 rabi but not the corresponding season which has triggered the stand-off with the State.
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The influx of demand from feed buyers in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised numerous questions over the direction of the Asian low-quality white rice market.
Rice markets reactBut the demand from feed buyers has spiked in both India and other Asian rice markets since the Ukraine conflict began. In India, for example, sources have reported instances of defaulting and low supplies, with one Kakinada-based exporter going so far as to describe the local broken rice market as a "disaster" due to the sudden influx of demand. In rice export origins which are also destination markets for corn and/or wheat, such as Vietnam, many exporters have withdrawn their broken rice offers due to high domestic demand. Vietnamese 100% broken white rice price has increased by $65/mt since the invasion of Ukraine, reaching a high of $370/mt FOB on March 25, according to Platts assessment from S&P Global. However, many sources view broken rice prices from Vietnam as hypothetical, with the country even importing substantial volumes from India to meet demand. In traditional broken rice markets -- notably in West Africa -- the situation is more immediately concerning from a food security perspective. In Senegal, which is a huge market for broken rice for human consumption, a sizable gap is opening up between current retail prices and replacement costs. While in part this is due to Senegal's new retail price cap and high freight rates, the significant rise in Indian broken rice prices in recent weeks has only served to widen this gap. According to one Europe-based trader who buys for the country, this gap has reached $90/mt in recent days, and made it "impossible" to buy for Senegal at present without taking on huge financial risks. However, with sufficient stocks in Dakar for Ramadan and the following weeks, the trader added that it makes no sense to re-enter the market before the religious holiday is over, with hopes that the replacement cost gap will have narrowed in the interim.
Unusual price spreadsBecause of the massive influx in demand for Asian broken rice, unusual price spreads between different rice grades have emerged. Pakistani 5% and 100% broken white rice were briefly assessed at par earlier in March while the gap was $70/mt a year prior. The spread between Thai 5% and A1 Super 100% broken white rice has narrowed to only $2/mt in recent days, compared to $51/mt a year prior. One major Singapore-based rice trader said that "some 25% [broken white rice] shipments for feed purposes" was seen from Myanmar to Europe. Sources buying from the Myanmar market have reported that offers of low-quality B234 broken white rice have been largely unavailable in recent weeks due to high feed demand, with higher quality broken rice prices also moving up substantially. Despite sources reporting no obvious reason for why feed buyers could not turn to 25% broken white rice if 100% broken white rice was unavailable, or priced uncompetitively, sales of this product for feed purposes so far remain rare. A second Singapore-based trader said that they were advising their traditional broken rice buyers in Africa to accept 25% broken white rice due to supply and price issues for 100% broken white rice. However, the first Singapore-based trader cautioned that this would ultimately "depend on corn prices." FAO's Shirley Mustafa agreed, saying that "because this trend is influenced by factors outside of rice markets, developments in these external markets will have an important bearing." Mustafa added that "current forecasts suggest record-breaking supply availabilities in the major exporters this season, thanks to bumper harvests expected in India, Pakistan and Thailand. If these are realized, they should be more than sufficient to cater to the higher global needs."
Outside forcesDespite uncertainty surrounding how this situation will play out, it is almost inevitable that feed demand will take up an unusually large portion of international rice sales in 2022. A third Singapore-based trader said that it will "not be a huge chunk ... But it will not be insignificant either." The questions which remain at this point are whether 25% broken white rice sales for feed will become more widespread and how this demand for cheap rice will impact traditional buyers of 25% and 100% broken white rice for human consumption. However, with rice still a minor player in the massive global feed market, the situation will ultimately remain at the mercy of outside forces.
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Scope of dealWithin the scope of cooperation, Angimex will transfer the sample rice field to the enterprises of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The sample rice field is Angimex’s first successful factor to ensure high-quality rice input. The expansion of the large sample rice field is one of the solutions to increase the value of rice for export, according to the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). When farming on the large sample rice field, farmers will simultaneously sow each high-yield and high-quality rice variety in the same field. Therefore, this combination of high-quality rice production and rice field expansion brings practical benefits to farmers, including changing production mindset and improving economic efficiency. Aiming at improving the quality of rice seeds in the future, the agricultural services of Angimex give an emphasis on providing farmers with in-depth knowledge and cost-saving methods during varietal selection, cultivation, and harvest. Angimex’s experts with rich experience in the field of agriculture will train farmers to master cultivation techniques and answer the farmers’ questions during the farming process.
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New, possibly arboreal rice rat species discovered in Ecuador
"In total, the expeditions to the Kutukú region in southeastern Ecuador involved 1,200 trap nights, but only one specimen of the new species Mindomys kutuku was found," says Dr. Claudia Koch, curator of herpetology at the LIB, Museum Koenig Bonn, explaining the effort that went into locating the rare animal. From the collected specimen, the dry skin, skeleton and tissue were preserved for the collections. Preservation will allow future research to detect environmental changes, learn more about the ecology of the animals and plants -- and securely document the new species description, which was published in late February in the journal Evolutionary Systematics. The rice rat genus Mindomys was previously considered monotypic and included only the type species Mindomys hammondi. This species is known from only a few specimens, all of which were collected in the foothill forests of the Andes in northwestern Ecuador.
World Bank says Ukraine war may prompt grain shortages in poor countries
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - The World Bank on Wednesday said a number of developing countries face near-term wheat supply shortages due to their high dependence on Ukrainian wheat exports that have been disrupted by Russia's invasion.
The World Bank said in its latest Trade Watch report that Gambia, Lebanon, Moldova, Djibouti, Libya, Tunisia and Pakistan are the most exposed to the disruptions of wheat exports from Ukraine, which make up roughly 40% or more of their wheat imports.
"These importers will have trouble quickly switching to alternative sources, possibly leading to supply shortages in the short run," the World Bank said.
The grain supply situation has been worsened by Russia's imposition of export curbs on wheat and other cereal grains to countries outside of fellow Eurasian Economic Union members Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Russia was the top wheat exporter in 2018 and Ukraine the fifth largest, according to World Bank data. The two countries together make up about a quarter of world exports.
Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine do not specifically target Russian grain exports, but sanctions that prohibit dollar and euro transactions with top Russian banks make trade finance more difficult.
Aside from the direct supply shortages to Ukraine's biggest grain customers, higher market prices for wheat will affect middle-income countries across the globe, the World Bank report said.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization's Cereal Price Index in February was up 14.8% from a year earlier, and the World Bank said wheat futures prices had surged 60% since the start of the conflict.
"Moreover, disruptions to exports of wheat will affect markets for corn and rice, which are wheat substitutes, benefiting net exporters and harming net importers of those products," the bank added.
Disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine also could challenge a strong global trade recovery in 2021, with goods and services trade now exceeding pre-pandemic levels, the World Bank said.
Overall trade in 2021 surged by 26% over 2020 levels and by 17% over 2019 levels, with trade values exceeding 2019 levels in all regions, except for transportation equipment, the World Bank said.
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