2012 rice trade to fall in weaker demand: FAO

BANGKOK, (Asia Pulse) – The international rice trade is
forecast to fall by approximately 1 million tonnes, or 5 per
cent, this year as improved harvest prospects in several major
importing countries may reduce overall demand after achieving a
worldwide record of 34.5 million tonnes (milled basis) in 2011,
according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO). The total rice trade should decline to about 32.8 million
tonnes. Among the countries expected to import less rice in
2012 are Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and the
Philippines.

In Thailand, the recent extension of government-sponsored
pledging programme for secondary paddy crops is likely to keep
the countrys rice export prices high. As the result, the worlds
leading rice exporter is expected to incur a contraction in
shipments, as buyers seek better prices from competitors, FAO
said in a statement released here on Wednesday.

Supply constraints will probably inhibit exports also from
Argentina, Brazil, Myanmar, the United States and Uruguay. Viet
Nam, the worlds second-largest rice exporter, may not match its
export totals from 2011. Cambodia, China and Pakistan, on the
other hand, appear set to increase shipments, while Indias
return to the export market, following the lifting of a ban on
non-basmati rice exports, should also boost export totals from
that country, FAO said