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Rice: A market slowdown after two years of historically buoyant trade

Mendez Del Villar P.. 2020. In : Chalmin Philippe (ed.), Jégourel Yves (ed.). Cyclope 2020: World commodities markets. Allegoria ed effetti del Cattivo Governo. The great world disorder. The crisis of 2020. Paris : Economica, p. 228-232. (Cyclope).

A period of stagnant production, a slowdown in trade to 44 million tonnes (Mt) and a greater than expected fall in world prices despite a few regional exceptions marked 2019. China and India, the world's two largest producers, both experienced a fall in production output, but with moderate repercussions for global trade due to their very large reserves. At the same time, the main Asian importers, particularly Bangladesh and Indonesia, reduced their imports sharply due to larger crop yields. With regard to exporters, the decline in global demand mostly impacted Thailand, where export sales fell by 32%, as well as India, which experienced a 17% drop in exports. Meanwhile, Vietnam and Pakistan benefited from more favourable economic conditions due to sustained strong demand from their traditional customers and very competitive prices compared with their main competitors. The fall in Vietnamese and Pakistani prices also weighed heavily on global prices in 2019. The decline was especially evident in the second half of the year with the slowdown in import demand from China, and more significantly from Nigeria, the world's second largest importer, following the decision of the Nigerian authorities to close their borders at the end of August 2019 in order to combat rice smuggling from neighbouring countries. Prices strengthened at the beginning of 2020, influenced by a possible limit on export supplies lasting throughout the first half of the year as well as a revival of global demand. This could increase by 4% to 46 Mt in 2020, but without quite reaching the record levels seen in 2017 and 2018. However, uncertainty persists due to two unknowns in particular, the magnitude of which could weigh heavily on the global rice market in 2020. Firstly, Nigeria's land borders were still closed at the end of February and there is no indication when they will reopen as long as there is a significant risk that rice smuggling could resume. Secondly, if the coronavirus epidemic continues to spread in China and beyond, it could have an impact on its imports and its regulating role on the global rice market. Furthermore, its notable return as a global exporter, particularly to markets in Africa, could go through a marked slowdown with the risk of instability on the global market and greater volatility in global prices during 2020.

Thématique : Commerce international; Economie de la production

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