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USDA Grains: World Markets and Trade

12 January 2012

Rice World Markets Update: A Year of SurprisesRice World Markets Update: A Year of Surprises

Global rice trade in 2011 surpassed last January’s forecast by 15 percent, reaching a record 34.8 million tons. Unanticipated policy changes and weather were major drivers.
USDA Grains: World Markets and Trade Reports

India’s shipments soared as the government allowed non-basmati exports for the first time in nearly 4 years. Vietnam uncharacteristically permitted sales beyond the initial target and reached a new record. Government support also contributed to Brazil more than doubling its previous record. Thailand shipped unprecedented quantities early in the year before a policy change reversed the situation in recent months. Even Pakistan shipped more than many thought possible after the devastating floods. The United States, facing weather and price issues, was the only major exporter with trade below last January’s forecast.

On the import side, the governments of Indonesia and Bangladesh purchased far more than previous years to keep domestic prices down. The government of the Philippines, on the other hand, tried to promote self-sufficiency by purchasing much less. None of the three had poor crops. In stark contrast, the earthquake and related disasters in Japan did not lead to additional imports, as some reports predicted.
Though 2012 is likely have its own surprises, trade is expected to return to lower levels as Bangladesh and Indonesia reduce purchases.



Global production and consumption are raised slightly. Although total trade is unchanged, U.S. exports are up due to continued sales to traditional markets. The forecast U.S. season-average price is lowered slightly this month reflecting prices received to date, but remains a record.


Domestic: Wheat prices were mixed in December. Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Soft Red Winter (SRW) were nearly unchanged. Hard Red Spring (HRS) was being pressured from Australian and Canadian supplies and was down $25 to $353/ton. Soft White Wheat (SWW), the only wheat class with higher prices, was up $10 to $241/ton and is closing the gap with SRW.


Selected Exporters

  • Australia is lowered 1.0 million tons to 20.5 million due to strong competition from Russia in the Middle East.
  • Russia is up 500,000 tons to 19.5 million as a result of the strong sales and shipments to date.
  • United States is raised 500,000 tons to 25.0 million on the pace of shipments and continued sales to traditional markets.

January 2012

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