Bloomberg News

Rice Gains to Highest in a Month as U.S. Farmers Cut Planting

April 03, 2013

Rice advanced to the highest level in more than a month in Chicago, extending the biggest jump since June, as farmers in the U.S. plan to cut acreage to the smallest in more than two decades.

Rough rice for delivery in May climbed as much as 1.1 percent to $15.945 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest for the most-active contract since March 1. Futures were at $15.925 at 2:57 p.m. in Singapore on volume that was almost four times above the average for that time of the day. The price rallied 3.3 percent yesterday, gaining 50 cents, the most allowed.

Farmers in the U.S. will sow 2.611 million acres (1.057 million hectares) this year, down from 2.699 million in 2012 and the smallest since 1987, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on March 28. In Thailand, which may regain its title as the largest shipper this year, the government plans to buy 7 million metric tons of the second crop, Spokesman Tossaporn Serirak, said March 31, keeping domestic and export prices high.

“Traders think rice prices will keep moving up,” Kiattisak Kanlayasirivat, a director at Novel Commodities SA, which trades about $600 million of rice a year, said from Bangkok. “U.S. farmers want to reduce their acreage because profit from growing rice is lower than corn or wheat. In Thailand, the government policy hasn’t changed and that’s helping strengthen prices.” The U.S. and Thailand compete in the market for high-grade rice, he said.

Wheat Rebounds

Wheat for delivery in May gained as much as 1 percent to $6.7725 a bushel in Chicago, extending yesterday’s 1 percent gain. The grain, which fell to $6.5975 on April 1, the cheapest for a most-active contract since June 20, was at $6.7625.

Freezing conditions early last week may have damaged so- called jointing wheat in the southern plains, while in the Delta region, heavy rain this week may delay spring field work, Bryce Anderson, an agricultural meteorologist at DTN, said in a report yesterday. Jointing refers to a stage when nodes develop on a plant’s stem, according to a Queensland government website.

“The concern now is the weather and how the yield will turn out,” George Pallett, a trader at Convector Grain Pty. Ltd., said by phone from Sydney.

Corn for May delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $6.375 a bushel. The grain, which entered a bear market this week on prospects for increased supply, dropped to $6.34 yesterday, the lowest level in nine months.

Soybeans for May delivery dropped as much as 0.9 percent to $13.82 a bushel, the cheapest for the most-active contract since Jan. 14. The oilseed, which traded at $13.8425, fell for the second straight quarter in the three months to March.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net


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