Global rice trade is projected to increase 1% to 42.3 million tonnes in 2018, the third highest on record and the second consecutive year of expanded trade.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) noted that a major factor behind the expanded trade in 2018 is increased exports from three of the top six exporters—Vietnam, Pakistan, and Burma. Vietnam’s 2018 exports are expected to increase 400,000 tonnes, to 6 million tonnes, due to increased demand from Southeast Asia, especially from the Philippines.
China is again forecasted to be the largest export market for Vietnam’s rice. Pakistan is projected to export 4.1 million tonnes of rice in 2018, up 100,000 tonnes from a year earlier, a result of a slightly larger crop, the USDA said.
Burma is expected to export 1.7 million tonnes of rice in 2018, up 100,000 tonnes from 2017, primarily due to stronger demand from regional buyers and the E.U.
In contrast, India’s exports are projected to drop 500,000 tonnes in 2018 due to a smaller crop and stronger domestic use. According to the USDA, Thailand’s exports are expected to be flat in 2018, while U.S. rice exports are projected to decline 50,000 tonnes as a result of higher prices and tighter supplies.