The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109897   Message #2300648
Posted By: Amos
29-Mar-08 - 06:15 PM
Thread Name: BS: Global Rice Crisis
Subject: BS: Global Rice Crisis
You may have seen a couple of references to a rice shortage in other threads. It is turning inot a shortage of serious impact. The Int'l Herald Tribune reports:

"...Rice-importing countries have become increasingly desperate, with fast-food restaurants in the Philippines even cutting rice portions in half.

Ben Savage, a rice broker at Jackson Son & Co. in London, said that even before the latest restrictions by Vietnam and India, international rice trading had practically stopped as exporters had become reluctant to sell as they waited to see how high prices would go. "The market has pretty much ground to a halt for the past few weeks," he said.

Shipments are still being made to complete contracts signed months ago, and governments are still doing deals with each other using state-controlled companies. But with virtually no private contracts being signed, the rice market has become extremely volatile, with prices jumping ever higher as governments impose more export restrictions.

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Global rice consumption has exceeded production in each of the last seven years, so rice stockpiles have been falling steadily. Rising affluence in India and China has increased demand even as a plant virus has damaged the harvest in Vietnam and poor weather has hurt output in other countries.

Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter after Thailand, announced Friday that it would reduce rice exports by 22 percent in the hope of curbing the rapidly accelerating inflation rates in the country.

India on Friday set a new minimum price for rice exports of $1,000 a ton, far above the price of $700 to $750 for most grades of rice. The new price makes it unlikely that India will export any rice except the highest grades of basmati rice for which the market within India has long been small.

Cambodia said Wednesday that it was halting all private sector rice exports. Egypt has barred all rice exports starting on April 1; while Egypt bars exports each year to conserve supplies for domestic consumption, the Egyptian government has acted earlier than usual this year and after less rice than usual has been exported.

Thailand has not imposed restrictions yet, but there has been public discussion about doing so...."

This could be very disruptive.