FAO Rice Market Monitor, December 2017, Volume XX - Issue No. 4



Since the October issue of the RMM, FAO has raised its forecast of world paddy production in 2017 by 2.1 million tonnes to 756.7 million tonnes (502.2 million tonnes, milled basis). The revisions primarily mirrors improved crop prospects for China (Mainland) and Myanmar, although Pakistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone are all predicted to gather more than reported in October.
Combined, these changes more than offset various downward revisions, the largest of which concerning Bangladesh and Madagascar.

At the revised level of 756.7 million tonnes, global paddy production would surpass the 2016 all-time high by a small margin of 0.2 percent. From a regional perspective, the comparatively stable outlook mirrors prospects of only modest output growth in Asia, where uneven rainfall patterns look set to temper area expansions promoted by continued state assistance and positive margins. Put together, countries in Asia are seen producing 684.2 million tonnes in 2017, up 1.4 million tonnes from the 2016 record. The largest absolute expansions in the region are expected to take place in China (Mainland), Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, but Cambodia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Timor Leste are all set to gather larger crops. The outlook is more subdued elsewhere, especially for South Asian producers that experienced a series of weather setbacks. This was namely the case of Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka and, to a lesser extent, India. Afghanistan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Turkey and Viet Nam are all similarly set to face production declines this season.

FAO’s outlook continues to point to 2017 production in Africa exceeding the 2016 all-time high by 1 percent to reach 31.1 million tonnes. Generally favorable precipitation levels through September permitted producers in most West African countries to react to attractive prices and government assistance programs by expanding plantings. Prospects are also positive for Egypt, more than compensating for contractions in Burkina Faso, Gambia, Niger and, especially Madagascar and the United Republic of Tanzania, where crops were impaired by erratic rains.