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USDA raises rice export forecasts

The only supply-side revision in April to the 2004/05 U.S. rough rice balance sheet was a 500,000-hundredweight increase — all long grain — in imports to 14 million hundredweight, 10 percent below the year earlier record. The higher import forecast raised total U.S. rice supplies fractionally to a record 268.5 million hundredweight.

U.S. rice exports in 2004/05 are projected at 108 million hundredweight (rough equivalent of both rough and milled rice exports), up 3 million hundredweight from the March forecast and 4 percent larger than a year earlier. Medium/short grain accounts for all of April's upward revision in exports. At 27 million hundredweight, medium/short exports are the highest on record.

Total use of U.S. rice in 2004/05 is projected at 231.1 million hundredweight, up more than 1 percent from last month's forecast — the result of the higher export forecast — and nearly 6 percent larger than a year earlier.

U.S. ending stocks of all rice for 2004/05 are projected at 37.4 million hundredweight, down 2.7 million hundredweight from last month's forecast but 58 percent larger than a year earlier. The 2004/05 U.S. season-average farm price (SAFP) is projected at $7.30-$7.50 per hundredweight, a tightening of 5 cents on both the high and low end from last month.

The 2004/05 SAFP is down from $8.08 in 2003/04, a result of record U.S. rice supplies. Higher global trading prices in 2004/05 are limiting the decline in U.S. prices.

Global rice production in 2004/05 is projected at 401.7 million tons (milled basis), down slightly from last month's forecast but 3 percent larger than a year earlier. Production forecasts were lowered for Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan, while raised for Venezuela, the Philippines, and Bolivia. Global ending stocks for 2004/05 are projected at 74.8 million tons, down 13 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since 1983/84.

Global rice trade for calendar year 2005 is projected at 25.4 million tons (milled basis), virtually unchanged from last month, but 5 percent below a year earlier and the third consecutive year of declining global rice trade. Import projections for 2004 were lowered for Iraq, Indonesia, and South Africa, while raised for Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Benin, and South Korea.

Export price quotes for most grades of Thailand's milled white rice (including parboiled rice) have increased $5-$12 per ton since early March, a result of tight supplies and Thailand's Government intervention purchases. Vietnam's prices dropped during March due to a large accumulation of supplies from the harvest of its winter-spring crop, the largest and highest yielding of Vietnam's three annual rice crops.

U.S. prices for long grain milled rice are down slightly from a month earlier and have dropped sharply since June.

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