Global Rice Prices Hit 15-Year High after India Curbs: FAO

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Global Rice Prices Hit 15-Year High after India Curbs: FAO

The price of rice globally reached a 15-year high in August after top exporter India banned some overseas sales of the grain, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. While global food prices eased in August, those of rice rose 9.8 percent compared to the previous month, "reflecting trade disruptions in the aftermath of a ban on Indica white rice exports by India," AFP reported citing a monthly report of FAO.

"Uncertainty about the ban's duration and concerns over export restrictions caused supply-chain actors to hold on to stocks, re-negotiate contracts or stop making price offers, thereby limiting most trade to small volumes and previously concluded sales," AFP quoted the UN agency as saying. According to AFP, rice is a major world food staple and prices in the international markets have soared in the wake of the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon on production levels. India announced in July a ban on exports of non-basmati white rice, which account for around a quarter of its total followed by a ban on parboiled rice

The consumer affairs and food ministry said at the time that the move would "ensure adequate availability" and "allay the rise in prices in the domestic market". India accounts for more than 40 percent of all global rice shipments. The ban was expected to hit African nations, Turkey, Syria and Pakistan, all of which were already struggling with high inflation, data analytics firm Gro Intelligence warned in a note in July.

World rice stocks are forecast to reach an all-time high of 198.1 million tonnes, with India and China holding nearly three quarter of this volume like in previous seasons, according to the FAO. This total represents around 38 percent of rice consumption forecast over the same period. But aggregate rice reserves held by the rest of the world are expected to end the year with a second successive contraction, it added. Prices of cereal, meat, dairy and vegetable oils all fell in August. 

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