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World, U.S. and Arkansas Rice Fundamentals Weighing Heavy on Price


The 2018/19 long grain rice ending stocks are estimated at 34.8 million cwt., 60 percent above 2017/18 and the 2nd highest since 1985; the 5-year average is 23 million cwt. and the 10-year average is 24 million cwt. (Chart B9) Download the chart book that is attached to this article.

Also, global rice production, total supply, and ending stocks are at record levels. (Chart A8)

Currently, global policy disputes, economic and political uncertainties have slowed global growth. This, coupled with record global production and record global total supplies, are depressing global rice prices.

These factors plus a wet 2018 harvest and post-harvest preparation period, coupled with a potentially wet 2019 spring and planting season, suggest fewer delta long grain rice acres.

Assuming no new U.S. long grain demand source or sources, fundamentals, coupled with slowing global growth and factors previously discussed are signaling a demand for fewer U.S. long grain rice acres in 2019.

For producers young and old, this is a year for cost containment.

USDA World Rice Supply and Demand Estimates

  1. 2018/19 world rice milled production is estimated at 495.9 million metric tons, the highest on record.
  2. 2018/19 world rice total supply estimated at 703 million metric tons, the largest on record.
  3. 2018/19 world rice exports at 47.7 million metric tons is the largest on record.
  4. 2018/19 world rice domestic consumption at 488 million metric tons is the highest on record.
  5. 2018/19 world rice ending stocks at 168 million metric tons is the highest on record.

Assuming the global rice fundamentals are correct, this is a very bearish global rice balance sheet, so be mindful and respectful of global fundamentals when making 2019 rice business decisions.

USDA U.S. long grain rice supply and demand estimates

The 2018 long grain rice harvested acres are estimated at 2,181,000, 25 percent higher than 2017.

Also, 2018 long grain rice production is estimated at 164 million cwt., 28 percent above 2017, the 5-year average 144 million cwt. and the 10-year average 147 million cwt.

Long grain rice total supply for 2018/19 is estimated at 208 million cwt., which is 14 percent above 2017/18, the 5-year average 189 million cwt., and the 10-year average 190 million cwt.

The long grain rice exports for 2018/19 is estimated at 68 million cwt., 5 million cwt. above last year, but the 2nd lowest in the current five marketing periods, the 5-year average 69 million cwt., and the 10-year average 71 million cwt.

2018/19 long grain rice ending stocks are estimated at 34.8 million cwt., 60 percent above 2017/18 and the 2nd highest since 1985, the 5-year average 23 million cwt. and the 10-year average 24 million cwt.

The U.S. long grain balance sheet suggests, assuming no new demand source or sources, currently slowing global growth, and ongoing global economic and political dynamics, that fewer U.S. long grain acres need to be planted in 2019.

2018 Arkansas Total Rice Acreage, Yield and Production

Arkansas total (long and medium grain) rice harvested acres in 2018 is estimated by USDA at 1,427,000 acres, 323,000 acres or 29 percent greater than 2017, with an estimated yield per acre of 7520 lbs. (167.1 bus.), which is the 3rd largest on record. Total 2018 production is estimated at 107.3 million cwt., the previous 5-year average is 95.1 million cwt.

2018 Arkansas Long Grain Rice Acreage, Yield and Production

Arkansas long rice harvested acres in 2018 is estimated by USDA at 1,245,000 acres, 290,000 acres or 30 percent greater than 2017 acreage of 955,000 acres. 2001 to 2010 averaged 1,364,000 acres and the previous 7-year average (2011 -2017) was 1,099,000 acres. Total 2018 production is estimated at 94 million cwt., 3rd highest in the current 8 production periods.

2018 Arkansas Medium Grain Rice Acreage and Production

Arkansas medium grain rice harvested acres in 2018 is estimated by USDA at 181,000 acres, between 2001 and 2017, the top 5 years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015) averaged 223,000 acres, while the remaining 12 years averaged 132,250 acres. 2018 production is estimated at 13.267 million cwt., or 22 percent above 2017 and 51 percent greater than 2016.

2019 Arkansas Long Grain Rice Acreage and Production Outlook 
Given the 2018/19 U.S. long grain balance sheet’s bearish price expectations, my 2019 Arkansas long grain rice harvested acreage expectation is 1,128,400 acres (2018 = 1,240,000) or 9 percent below 2018 with a preliminary 2019 production estimate of 84.6 million cwt., which would still be the 4th largest in the current eight production periods.

Bobby Coats is a professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. E-mail: recoats@uark.edu. and is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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