Rice back at March high on import cues

Rice back at March high on import cues

Singapore: Rice advanced for a fifth straight day to the highest in more than nine months as India, the world’s second largest rice grower, returns to the import market and typhoons reduce production in the Philippines.

State-owned PEC Ltd and MMTC Ltd are seeking 10,000 tonnes each for delivery during November and December. State Trading Corp. of India Ltd will seek a similar amount, a government official, who didn’t want to be identified before the bids are called, said on 30 October. That will be the first imports since the 2005-06 marketing year, according to US department of agriculture data.

Rice has “its own individual fundamentals, particularly the issues that we’re seeing out of South-East Asia and the talk that India is looking to buy rice", Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney said by phone on Monday. “That’s supporting that particularly market", as other grains declined, he said.

Rice for January delivery added as much as 0.8% to $14.805 (Rs696) per 100lb (45kg) in after-hour electronic trading, after jumping 7.3% last week, the biggest such gain for the most active contract since the week ended 20 March.

India, the world’s second largest rice consumer, may import as much as 3 million tonnes (mt) next year, making it a net importer for the first time in 21 years, and potentially sparking the kind of “panic" that sent prices to records in 2008, said Samarendu Mohanty, senior economist at the International Rice Research Institute.

The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, was battered by typhoon Mirinae after the government raised its estimate on losses from two recent storms to around 1 mt, from around 800,000 tonnes earlier, widening the nation’s shortfall.

Some rice crops in southern Luzon in the Philippines were damaged by Typhoon Mirinae, Frisco Malabanan, national hybrid rice programme director, said. Corn, wheat and soya beans fell for a second day as warmer weather in the US improved the production outlook for the largest exporter of the three crops and after a stronger dollar damped demand for US supplies.

Above normal temperatures and below normal rain is expected in major corn and soya bean producing regions in the US including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska through 15 November, the National Weather Service said.

“We’ve got an improved outlook across the US for corn and soya bean harvest, which incidentally means we’ll also have expectations that planting progress of winter wheat will also pick up", Mathews said.

Corn for December delivery lost 1.8%, to $3.5925 a bushel (35.24 litres) in after-hours electronic trading on the Chicago Board of Trade, after closing 3.6% lower on 30 October.