June 18, 2008 / 8:31 AM / 11 years ago

RPT-FACTBOX-What is moving rice prices

  (Repeats to additional subscribers with no changes to text)
 June 18 - Asian rice prices almost trebled to their highest
ever this year as export restrictions by leading suppliers
fuelled insecurity over food supplies.
 Now with signs of big harvests and export curbs being
lifted, benchmark Thai prices RI-THWHB-P1 have fallen from
their peaks.
 For a selection of stories on rice click: [ID:nSP58629]
 * October 2007 - India, which was the world's
second-largest rice exporter last year but is set to lag behind
Thailand and the United States this year, bans exports of
non-basmati rice to rein in prices and control inflation, but
later in the month eases the ban on some superior varieties of
the grain.
 * March 2008 - India bans exports of non-basmati rice again
as inflation hits a 14-month high, alarming policymakers.
 * March 2008 - Egypt bans rice exports from April 1 to
October to hold down local prices. The country normally
produces about 4.6 million tonnes a year of white rice, leaving
a surplus of about 1.4 million tonnes for export.
 * April 2008 - Vietnam extends a ban on rice sales until
June to help stabilise domestic food prices as it tries to tame
double-digit inflation. Prior to that, it had curtailed exports
for March and April.
 * April 2008 - Brazil temporarily suspends rice exports to
safeguard domestic supply and keep prices of the basic
foodstuff stable. Brazil, which is not a major global rice
supplier, exported 313,000 tonnes of rice last year.
 * April 2008 - Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest rice
consumer, says it will curb medium-grade rice exports to combat
inflation. Under Indonesia's new rice export rules, state
procurement agency Bulog is allowed to sell medium-grade rice
overseas only when national stocks are above 3 million tonnes
and domestic prices are below a government's target price.
 * April 2008 - India slaps export taxes on basmati rice, on
top of an existing ban on non-basmati rice exports.
 * May 2008 - Bangladesh bans non-aromatic rice exports.
 * May 2008 - Cambodia becomes the first rice exporter to
lift an export curb, which it had put in place two months ago,
saying domestic stockpiles were sufficient and that it was
short of long-term storage space. Vietnam also talks about
ending its export ban from July, as planned.
 * June 2008 - Vietnam says it will lift the ban on signing
new rice export deals from July, and signs a
government-to-governement deal to ship 600,000 tonnes to the
 A cyclone sweeps through Myanmar's Irawaddy delta,
inundating rice crops and raising the prospect that the country
may need to import from its neighbours. While years of military
misrule have seen Burma slip far from its post-indepedence
position as the world's biggest exporter, the U.N.'s Food and
Agriculture Organisation said it had been looking for 600,000
tonnes of rice exports from Myanmar this year.
 * January 2008 - Bangladesh signs deals and starts
importing 180,000 tonnes of white rice from neighbouring
Myanmar. The Bangladeshi government and private traders started
importing rice after crop losses caused by flooding last year.
 March 2008 - The Philippines says it aims to import up to
2.2 million tonnes of rice this year to meet a domestic
shortfall, in what could be the biggest overseas purchase of
the staple in a decade. Local harvests have failed to keep up
with expanding population, lifting inflation to a 16-month
 * March 2008 - Costa Rica expects its rice imports to jump
31 percent to 190,000 tonnes in the 2008/09 crop year, which
begins in July, as farmers replace some rice fields with other
crops such as sugar cane and pineapple. Bad weather in the
remaining rice-growing areas also has cut yields.
 * March 2008 - Bangladesh says it would import 400,000
tonnes of rice from India to cushion the country's dwindling
stocks. The imports, allowed under a government-to-government
deal, would not be subjected to the rise in rice export prices.
 * April 2008 - Singapore says it would allow rice importers
to bring in more stock to meet increased demand amid consumer
fears of a rice supply crunch and higher prices.
 * May 2008 - Mexico says it will eliminate import tariffs
on foods including rice, which currently stand at 20 percent.
 * June 2008 - The Philippines says it has signed a deal
with Vietnam to buy 600,000 tonnes of rice, completing its
purchases for the year. The price is nearly a fifth less than
it paid in its previous tender in April.
 World inventories have fallen by nearly 50 percent from a
record high of 147.1 million tonnes in 2000/01, although they
have already recovered slightly from a low in 2004/05. They are
expected to rise marginally by the end of this crop year.
  Year       Production Exports  Domestic     Ending
                              Consumption  Stocks
  2000/01      398.9     24.4      395.3      147.1
  2001/02      399.7     27.9      413.5      133.3
  2002/03      378.1     27.6      407.9      103.5
  2003/04      391.7     27.2      413.2       82.1
  2004/05      400.8     29.2      408.4       74.4
  2005/06      418.1     29.4      416.0       76.5
  2006/07      420.6     30.3      420.9       76.1
  2007/08      425.3     27.5      424.2       77.2
  Source; USDA data. Figures are in millions of tonnes.
 In some countries such as the Philippines, production is
failing to keep up with demand because paddy land is being
overtaken for industrial development, or because farmers are
seeking other trades. This is a longer-term issue that should
contribute to supply tightness in the future.
 Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines have moved recently
to curb conversion of farmland to other uses.
 In poor nations facing a doubling in wheat and corn prices,
rice consumption is rising, but this is partly offset by
falling per-capita consumption in big countries such as China.
Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that
consumption in China -- which accounts for 30 percent of world
consumption --has fallen by 3.9 percent over the past five
years. But global consumption has risen by 2.7 percent over the
same period, in places such as Nigeria, the Philippines and
 (Writing by Sambit Mohanty; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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