Rice Market Simmering Nicely

Whist the poor monsoon season slashed Indian summer rice production, flooding in the south of the country is seen doing likewise with winter rice output, analysts say.

That could leave India needing to import 3-5 MMT of rice next year, which considering that they are normally an exporter of around 4.5 MMT, is a pretty significant turnaround.

This would be the first time India has needed to import rice in more than twenty years, and also coincides with a pick up in demand from the Philippines, who have had their own production slashed by a series of typhoons.

India lost 18% of it's summer rice crop and could lose a similar proportion of it's winter production, analysts say.

That would slash stocks perilously low to under 1 MMT, without imports, and that is only enough to keep hungry India going for just four days.

Government mandates insist that state food agencies hold minimum stocks of 5.2 MMT of rice, pushing import requirements up above 4 MMT in 2010.

Strangely, the Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters today that the government "have adequate stocks" after refusing to offer a subsidy to state-run companies looking to import rice.