If the news about the U.S. corn season was not bad enough, now India is having issues with its Rice crop. Fortunately they had a bumper crop last year, so at least as far as India goes, if they refuse to export any rice, with stocks on hand, they may be o.k. for the time being.
Pratik Parija, Bloomburg, 20 July 2012
A 22 percent shortfall in monsoon rains delayed sowing of crops from rice to cotton, stoking a rally in commodity prices and threatening to accelerate India’s inflation that exceeded 7 percent for a fifth straight month in June. Dry weather from the U.S. to Australia has parched fields, pushing up corn, wheat and soybean prices on concern global supplies will be curbed. Costly rice, staple for half the world, may increase global food prices forecast by the United Nations to advance this month.
“The whole grains complex of wheat, corns, soybeans are forcing rice prices higher as well,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief executive officer of Barratt’s Bulletin, a commodity-markets newsletter in Sydney. “Indian production is very important for the market.”
Rice planting in India dropped 19 percent to 9.68 million hectares (24 million acres) this year from 12.04 million hectares a year earlier, the farm ministry said July 13. The country is estimated to export 8 million tons of rice in 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, accounting for about 25 percent of the global trade.
Monsoon, which accounts for more than 70 percent of India’s annual rainfall, is the worst since 2009 when showers were 22 percent less than a 50-year average. Rainfall in July, the wettest month in the June-September rainy season, may miss a June forecast for a normal rain, L.S. Rathore, director general of the India Meteorological Department, said July 16.
Food-grain production reached a record 257.44 million tons in the year ended June 30 after a second year of normal rains boosted harvests, the farm ministry said July 17. That prompted the government to lift curbs on exports of the grains last year. Non-basmati shipments totaled 5.25 million tons since September, according to the food ministry.