The first projection for the 2005/06 U.S. rough rice crop is 225 million hundredweight, down 5.8 million from a year earlier but the second highest on record.

The USDA said a smaller yield more than offset a slight expansion in plantings. Total supplies are projected at a record 278.9 million hundredweight, up 4 percent from a year earlier. At 39.4 million hundredweight, beginning stocks are up 66 percent and the largest since 1993/94. Imports are forecast at 14.5 million hundredweight, an increase of 4 percent.

Total use of U.S. rice in 2005/06 is projected at a record 246.2 million hundredweight, up more than 7 percent from a year earlier. Exports account for the bulk of the expansion in total use. U.S. rice exports in 2005/06 are projected at 120 million hundredweight (rough equivalent of both rough and milled rice exports), up 13 percent from a year earlier and the second highest on record. Both rough and milled rice exports are projected higher in 2005/06.

Total domestic use (including the residual, or unreported losses in handling, processing, and marketing plus any statistical errors) is projected at a record 126.2 million hundredweight, up more than 2 percent from a year earlier. U.S. ending stocks are projected at 32.7 million hundredweight, down 17 percent from a year earlier. The 2005/06 U.S. season-average farm price is projected at $7.20- $7.50 per hundredweight, compared with a revised $7.20-$7.40 a year earlier. For 2004/05, exports were lowered 2 million hundredweight to 106 million. This resulted in a 2-million-hundredweight increase in ending stocks.

Global output

Global production for 2005/06 is projected at a record 410.3 million tons (milled basis), 2 percent larger than a year earlier. Expanded plantings account for nearly all of the production increase.

Each of the top four rice-producing countries — China, India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh — are projected to harvest larger crops. Global consumption is projected at a record 416.6 million tons. Global ending stocks are projected at 68.5 million tons, 8 percent below a year earlier and the smallest since 1983/84. The stocks-to-use ratio is the lowest since 1976/77.

Global rice trade for calendar year 2006 is projected at 25.1 million tons (milled basis), down 1 percent and the fourth consecutive year of declining global trade. In 2006, Thailand and Vietnam are projected to reduce exports while the United States and China are projected to increase exports. Both the Philippines and Saudi Arabia are projected to import less rice in 2006.

Export prices for most grades of Thailand’s milled white rice have remained steady over the past month despite a lack of new sales. Prices are being supported by the government’s intervention program. Vietnam's prices have dropped since early April due to large supplies resulting from the harvest of its winter-spring crop.

U.S. prices for long grain milled rice are up slightly from a month earlier due to a large amount of export sales made over the past month-and-a-half.