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June 2024

Tight global rice supply to persist into next year

MANILA  -India’s export ban and the El Niño phenomenon will keep rice prices in the global market elevated next year, according to Fitch group subsidiary BMI.

“It is our view that India’s rice export restrictions will remain in effect until after the April-May legislative elections, which will support prices at recent levels as will El Niño risks,” BMI said in an emailed commentary.

The global data and research firm is anticipating India to retain its export ban until the second half of next year as the country won’t risk stoking (food) price inflation in the run-up to the elections.

BMI revised upward its average rice forecast to $15.95 per hundredweight (cwt) from $15.50 per cwt for Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)-listed second-month rough rice futures in 2024.

So far, rice prices have averaged $16.39 per cwt since the beginning of September but it is estimating prices to decline to $13.25 per cwt by 2027 or the end of its five-year forecast.

In terms of export prices, BMI noted the world market has somewhat stabilized since India’s decision to implement an immediate ban on the export of non-basmati white rice in mid-July.

“Prices remain elevated, however, with the October print also 24.1 percent higher than its level of 12 months earlier,” it said.

“In the short term, expected import demand from Indonesia and the Philippines will support prices while crop conditions in north-eastern Thailand, downgraded to poor at the end of October, will continue to be closely monitored too,” it added.

BMI also said the El Niño will persist until April to June next year, with a 35 percent chance of the dry spell becoming a “historically strong” event between November and January next year, based on the US meteorological department’s latest update.

Rice, a staple food among Filipinos, is a water-sensitive crop that is susceptible to water shortages.

“The department’s longer-term forecasts also point to an extended period of below average rainfall, commencing in February 2024, stretching from northeastern Thailand over Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to the Philippines,” the research firm said.

“In the absence of Indian rice exports, Thailand and Vietnam would be expected to account for a sizable share of global rice deliveries, which will render trade prices sensitive to weather conditions in either market,” it added.

BMI is projecting the global rice sector to incur its third consecutive deficit, seen to improve by 4.9 million metric tons (MT) in 2024 against the projected deficit of 9.7 million MT this year. QR Code

Published Date: November 29, 2023

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