News / Asia

Severe Weather Has Little Affect on Asia's Rice Market

Motorists drive past a filling station which was toppled by typhoon Megi (local name
Motorists drive past a filling station which was toppled by typhoon Megi (local name "Juan"), 18 Oct 2010, at Cauayan, Isabela province, northeastern Philippines
Simone Orendain

Monsoons, typhoons and drought in Asia this year ruined rice crops, but it appears that rice stocks are little affected. The governments of several major rice exporters have abundant supplies.

Super-Typhoon Megi barreled its way across the northern Philippines last week, raising fears in an area that supplies a significant portion of the country's rice harvest.  The typhoon, with 225 kilometer winds, ruined several crops including rice, corn and other vegetables.

Losses

The Philippine Agriculture Department says the country lost $195 million worth of crops.  But just 5 percent of the rice crop was affected.  Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup says by the time Megi struck, 90 percent of the crop had already been harvested.

"The stock level for the National Food Authority is around 52 days," said Salacup. "So for the rest of the year we have a stable and practically- we have the supplies for our basic rice needs."

Domestically grown rice does not feed the whole country, which is the world's largest rice importer.  But right now, the Philippines is flush with stocks from last year's big order to cover losses from two powerful typhoons. Officials say there are no plans to buy more.

Price hike

Still, rice prices are expected to rise. One of the world's biggest rice exporters is Thailand.  Two leading rice mill associations there project supply losses of 10 to 20 percent because of recent floods.  Before the rainy season floods, both Thailand and Cambodia, another exporter, had expected to see smaller crops because of drought.

And in another big exporter, Pakistan, massive floods cut the crop by 40 percent.  Add to this the rising price of wheat, which may push consumers to switch to rice, and economists expect a bump in the price of rice.

But International Rice Research Institute Economist Samarendu Mohanty says it will not be a significant increase.

"Still I think the market is still not going to react much because right now there is some rice out there to be sold," Mohanty said. "I attended a conference in Phuket [Thailand] last week and all the sellers and all the exports I'm talking with- they say there are not much buyers right now in the market."

Cause and effect

Mohanty says the main reason is that India has 21 million tons of rice stocked up.  He says even if it currently has a ban on exporting non-basmati breeds of rice, India, which supplies most of the rice to east Africa and the Middle East, continues to sell to other governments.

"So, if Bangladesh wants to buy some rice, they will buy it through the Indian government.  They will not enter the marke," Mohanty said.  "They will have a secret deal with India and purchase the rice from them, at some sort of fixed price."

Mohanty says even the Thai government has plenty of stock.  Last week, the price of Thai rice, which sets the world's benchmark, was listed at $551 a ton.  That is about 20 percent higher than the July price, but well under record prices of more than $1,000 a ton two years ago.

For now, Mohanty says, government restrictions are keeping the market tight, rather than the weather.  He says as long as governments hoard rice and make deals among themselves, the price will continue to increase.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs