The rice market has continued to progress as harvest proceeds apace across much of the Southern rice growing regions. In government reports, the export sales figure was reported at almost 82,000 MT for the week which follows on the heels of several positive export sales number from previous weeks. This trend is indicative of healthy trading and has been highly anticipated for the past several months of nominal purchases.
Vessel tonnage has been fairly constant around the 60,000 MT per week. These lower than expected volumes are not terribly surprising given the weather constraints along the river. USDA seems to have found a comfortable level at the current world market price estimates given the longer than average static nature. Even as some of the global variables change, the net impact appears to be offsetting, which indicates that these levels may persist for a bit longer.
In the Asian markets, benchmark origins have softened incrementally over the past few weeks although much of this is due to exchange rate differences. Fundamentals in the Far East are beginning to become more apparent and should begin to play a greater role in the price movements there soon.
Domestically, the rice harvest has been generally completed along the Gulf Coast. Reports from Texas and Louisiana indicate lower than average field yields which will definitely impact producer bottom lines for the current season.
Many Texas growers are hoping to see second crop pick up the per acre average but that is still a long way off. In the Eastern part of the state, the tropical weather system Imelda has inundated many of those fields and will make new crop production even harder.
Louisiana reports much the same as Texas, although many growers in the Southwestern portion of the state have foregone second crop in lieu of crawfish production.
Further East in Mississippi, the crop is being reported as above average in quality and about average in field yields. A few more days of favorable weather will go a long way toward wrapping up the crop in that state.
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Arkansas and Missouri are in various stages of harvest. At this point, the reports suggest that the yields may be somewhat better than was previously thought. As is the case in the other parts of the country, the Upper Delta would welcome another week or so of favorable weather as well.
Cash prices across the country are beginning to respond to the new crop harvest and have appreciated noticeably over the past few weeks. As the quality and quantity of the new crop production becomes more apparent, it is very likely that prices will continue to rise.
The futures market was neutrally bullish over the past week with very modest gains being reported for all of the open contracts on the board. The most significant occurrence was the ascension of the November ’19 contract to the new nearby position. Market gains ranged from 0.8% to 1% for all of the open contracts currently traded.