Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
The Everything Stock Market Rally Continues - 25th Feb 21
Vaccine inequality: A new beginning or another missed opportunity? - 25th Feb 21
What's Next Move For Silver, Gold? Follow US Treasuries and Commodities To Find Out - 25th Feb 21
Warren Buffett Buys a Copper Stock! - 25th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary US House Prices BOOM! - 25th Feb 21
Man Takes First Steps Towards Colonising Mars - Nasa Perseverance Rover in Jezero Crater - 25th Feb 21
Musk, Bezos And Cook Are Rushing To Lock In New Lithium Supply - 25th Feb 21
US Debt and Yield Curve (Spread between 2 year and 10 year US bonds) - 24th Feb 21
Should You Buy a Landrover Discovery Sport in 2021? - 24th Feb 21
US Housing Market 2021 and the Inflation Mega-trend - QE4EVER! - 24th Feb 21
M&A Most Commonly Used Software - 24th Feb 21
Is More Stock Market Correction Needed? - 24th Feb 21
VUZE XR Camera 180 3D VR Example Footage Video Image quality - 24th Feb 21
How to Protect Your Positions From A Stock Market Sell-Off Using Options - 24th Feb 21
Why Isn’t Retail Demand for Silver Pushing Up Prices? - 24th Feb 21
2 Stocks That Could Win Big In The Trillion Dollar Battery War - 24th Feb 21
US Economic Trends - GDP, Inflation and Unemployment Impact on House Prices 2021 - 23rd Feb 21
Why the Sky Is Not Falling in Precious Metals - 23rd Feb 21
7 Things Every Businessman Should Know - 23rd Feb 21
For Stocks, has the “Rational Bubble” Popped? - 23rd Feb 21
Will Biden Overheat the Economy and Gold? - 23rd Feb 21
Precious Metals Under Seige? - 23rd Feb 21
US House Prices Trend Forecast Review - 23rd Feb 21
Lithium Prices Soar As Tesla, Apple And Google Fight For Supply - 23rd Feb 21
Stock Markets Discounting Post Covid Economic Boom - 22nd Feb 21
Economics Is Why Vaccination Is So Hard - 22nd Feb 21
Pivotal Session In Stocks Bull Bear Battle - 22nd Feb 21
Gold’s Downtrend: Is This Just the Beginning? - 22nd Feb 21
The Most Exciting Commodities Play Of 2021? - 22nd Feb 21
How to Test NEW and Used GPU, and Benchmark to Make sure it is Working Properly - 22nd Feb 21
US House Prices Vaccinations Indicator - 21st Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction – No Need to Hold Onto Your Hat - 21st Feb 21
Gold Setting Up Major Bottom So Could We See A Breakout Rally Begin Soon? - 21st Feb 21
Owning Real Assets Amid Surreal Financial Markets - 21st Feb 21
Great Investment Ideas For 2021 - 21st Feb 21
US House Prices Momentum Analysis - 20th Feb 21
The Most Important Chart in Housing Right Now - 20th Feb 21
Gold Is the Ultimate Reserve Asset - 20th Feb 21
Is That the S&P 500 And Gold Correction Finally? - 20th Feb 21
Technical Analysis of EUR/USD - 20th Feb 21
The Stock Market Big Picture - 19th Feb 21
Could Silver "Do a Palladium"? - 19th Feb 21
Three More Reasons We Love To Trade Options! - 19th Feb 21
Here’s What’s Eating Away at Gold - 19th Feb 21
Stock Market March Melt-Up Madness - 19th Feb 21
Land Rover Discovery Sport Extreme Ice and Snow vs Windscreen Wipers Test - 19th Feb 21
Real Reason Why Black and Asian BAME are NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations - 19th Feb 21
New BNPL Regulations Leave Zilch Leading the Way - 19th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary House Prices BOOM! - 18th Feb 21
Why This "Excellent" Stock Market Indicator Should Be on Your Radar Screen Now - 18th Feb 21
The Commodity Cycle - 18th Feb 21
Silver Backwardation and Other Evidence of a Silver Supply Squeeze - 18th Feb 21
Why I’m Avoiding These “Bottle Rocket” Stocks Like GameStop - 18th Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction Delayed Again While Silver Runs - 18th Feb 21
Silver Prices Are About to Explode as Stars are Lining up Like Never Before! - 18th Feb 21
Cannabis, Alternative Agra, Mushrooms, and Cryptos – Everything ALT is HOT - 18th Feb 21
Crypto Mining Craze, How We Mined 6 Bitcoins with a PS4 Gaming Console - 18th Feb 21
Stock Market Trend Forecasts Analysis Review - 17th Feb 21
Vaccine Nationalism Is a Multilateral, Neocolonial Failure - 17th Feb 21
First year of a Stocks bull market, or End of a Bubble? - 17th Feb 21
5 Reasons Why People Prefer to Trade Options Over Stocks - 17th Feb 21
The Gold & Gold Stock Corrections Are Normal - 17th Feb 21
WARNING Oculus Quest 2 Update v25 BROKE My VR Headset! - 17th Feb 21
UK Covid-19 Parks PACKED During Lockdown Despite "Stay at Home" Message - Endcliffe Park Sheffield - 17th Feb 21
How to Invest in ETFs in the UK - 17th Feb 21
Real Reason Why Black and Asian Ethnic minorities are NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations - 16th Feb 21
Gold / Silver: What This "Large Non-Confirmation" May Mean - 16th Feb 21
Major Optimism for Platinum, Silver, and Copper - 16th Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction Looming, Just as in Gold – Or Not? - 16th Feb 21
Stock Market Last pull-back before intermediate top? - 16th Feb 21
GAMESTOP MANIA BUBBLE BURSTS! Investing Newbs Pump and Dump Roller coaster Ride - 16th Feb 21
Thinking About Starting to Trade This Year? Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind - 16th Feb 21
US House Prices Real Estate Trend Forecast Review - 15th Feb 21
Will Tesla Charge Gold With Energy? - 15th Feb 21
Feeling the Growing Heat and Tensions in Stocks? - 15th Feb 21
Morgan Stanley Warns Gasoline Industry Is About to Become Totally Worthless - 15th Feb 21
Debts Lift Gold - Precious Metal Prices Will Rise on a Deluge of Red Ink - 15th Feb 21
Platinum Begins Big Breakout Rally - 15th Feb 21
How to Change Car Battery Without Losing Power, Memory, Radio Code Settings - 15th Feb 21
Five reasons why a financial advisor can make a big difference to your small business - 15th Feb 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

Global Food Crisis, Time to Buy Rice Futures

Commodities / Commodities Trading Feb 10, 2011 - 07:12 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleJack Barnes writes: The world is finally waking up to the fact that global grain prices are destined to head higher - much higher.

Nasty weather in key agricultural markets around the world has savaged the global grain crop, meaning worldwide supplies can't help but be squeezed. Australia, for instance, is experiencing additional flooding in areas that were already battered by the torrential rains of November, December and January.

And as if the supply-related increase in agricultural commodities wasn't enough, there's also the U.S. dollar - and the so-called "race to the bottom" - to contend with. Make no mistake: The endless devaluations in the greenback are having a worldwide impact on agricultural commodity prices. Since commodities are priced in dollars, these devaluations translate into higher prices for grains and other food-related commodities.

Short supplies and rising prices are bad enough, but concerns about these first two realities are creating an additional catalyst that completes a trifecta for higher agricultural commodity prices.

And that third catalyst is panic buying - especially with rice, which is a basic table staple in Asian markets. For instance, The Saudi Gazette last week reported that Bangladesh recently tripled its rice-import target and Indonesia just purchased 820,000 tons of Thai rice, nearly five times the volume initially sought.

"This is only the start of the panic buying," Ker Chung Yang, a commodities analyst at Singapore-based Phillip Futures, said in The Gazette report. "I expect we'll have more countries coming in and buying grain."

For global investors, there are five reasons why it's definitely time to buy rice futures.

Five Keys to Higher Rice Prices
Global food prices set an all-time record in January - reaching their highest level since the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization began to track them in 1990. They even topped the previous highs set during the global food prices scare of June 2008.

"The new figures clearly show that the upward pressure on world food prices is not abating. These high prices are likely to persist in the months to come," said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist for FAO, which is based in Rome.

Food-price inflation has become a major issue in the world's emerging economies - particularly those in Asia. Those inflationary pressures are now threatening to ignite a rally in rice prices - even though bumper crops in Thailand and Vietnam should mean there will be ample supplies. Instead, the following five reasons almost assure us of increased rice prices by the end of this year.

Rice prices will increase because:

•The aforementioned huge early Asian crop is allowing U.S. farmers to shift to planting higher-margin grains
•Panic buying by consuming nations trying to fight food inflation will escalate the price of existing supplies.
•The weather effects of La Nina are continuing to affect historical rain patterns.
•We expect an actual imbalance between world supply and demand by the end of this year.
•The United States is exporting inflation to the rest of the world, and will continue to do so for the rest of 2011.

Thailand's benchmark 100% "B" Grade white rice was offered at $540 per ton last week. That price is unchanged so far in 2011 - after having fallen 13% last year. During the 2008 food crisis, rice prices exceeded $1,000 a ton - a spike in food prices so severe that the head of the United Nation's World Food Program said it was causing a "silent tsunami" of hunger to sweep the globe.

While the Westernized nations continue to feel the effects of deflation and de-leveraging, emerging-market economies are having almost the exact opposite experience. And rice prices may be the ideal way to illustrate this economic disparity.

You see, rice is a staple food for half the world's population - particularly in Asia. And though there's a huge-and-growing middle class in Asia, there are still millions of households that exist at or near the poverty line. A big run-up in rice prices would squeeze their budgets and topple them into poverty - causing a wave of unrest that the governments of those countries would do almost anything to avoid.

Under normal circumstances, the inflationary effects we're seeing would not be as damaging to the world food prices. But we are in a major global weather pattern shift that has changed the rain patterns around the world.
La Nina is causing heavy rains to locations that normally experience little to no rain. This has caused flooding in such global breadbasket economies as Australia and Brazil. It has affected the monsoons of India and weather conditions on the U.S. East Coast.

Rice analysts have labeled price inflation as a "near-term" event, stating that an expected surge in rice supplies provided by a strong harvest would halt - and ultimately reverse - the current run-up in prices.
But the supply increases won't be as large as these analysts expect.

The U.S. Wild Card
The price increases in grains have led the United States to shift its historical growing averages. In terms of the global pecking order among rice exporters, the United States typically ranks as the No. 3 or No. 4 largest exporter.

But not this year.

In 2011, U.S. farmers are shifting to other crops, hoping to capitalize by boosting their output of soybeans over rice.

In fact, Bloomberg News has reported that U.S. farmers will plant the fewest acres of rice crop since 1989. And with good reason: other grains have better profit margins than rice, especially since Asia's largest rice growers have a "bumper crop" coming to market this year.

"Why would you want to take that risk to plant rice, knowing that your income is going to be way down?" Terry Hatley, an Arkansas farmer who this year may not plant rice for the first time in three decades, told a Bloomberg reporter. "Farming is a business, and you've got to look at the economics of it. Now, the economics on rice are very dim."

Because the U.S. crop lags its Asian counterparts, such changes in planting plans by U.S. farmers will affect worldwide rice supplies in six months to nine months.

The "Egypt Effect"
The uprising in Egypt has been directly linked to the cost of wheat, as Russia was the supplier of wheat to the Middle East region. This historical relationship was put into doubt when Russia cancelled its exports of grains last summer.

Egypt has started to go into the spot market to purchase more expensive wheat to feed its growing population. The uprising is going to play havoc with additional supplies arriving and being distributed to the hungry population. And Egypt is not the only nation that has had to make large bulk purchases of food to try to meet domestic demand.

Take Indonesia, which is the first of many nations to come to market in an attempt to make larger-than-normal purchases of a particular commodity. In large part because of runaway food prices, Indonesia is facing an inflation rate of better than 7% - in a year in which the inflation rate had been expected to decline.

Cheap rice has risen 22% in the past year. Cooking oil jumped 15% and various types of "chillies" zoomed between 90% and 314%, The Australian newspaper reported.

Now the largest economy in Southeast Asia is importing rice in bulk for the first time since 2007. And Jakarta recently made an emergency decision to temporarily halt import duties on foreign supplies of rice, soybeans and wheat to ease food prices and take the sting out of inflation.

In fact, as a longtime observer of the global markets, I've found it interesting to observe the differing strategies that governments around the world have resorted to as they respond to the events in Tunisia and Egypt.

After the global food prices scare of 2008, authorities around the world were aware of the risks and better prepared to cope with rising food costs this time around, says Indonesia central bank spokesman Difi A. Johansyah.

"We expect food prices can be controlled so they won't raise inflation expectations," he said.

Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that possible steps to avoid a food crisis included waiving value-added taxes or import taxes for rice and cooking oil, maintaining sufficient stockpiles and preventing smuggling or hoarding.

Countries that operate under an autocratic government are announcing changes in their governments in an attempt to address the anger of a population that has no real say in deciding who will lead them. Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic has not fixed the problems before, and it won't make a difference today.

The people are experiencing the pain that accompanies big increases in staple food prices. In such situations, it's the price of the calories that drives the anger. And a fear of that anger will continue to induce governments to make the kind of hasty decisions that actually exacerbate the problem.

As investors in capitalist markets who will also feel some of that pocketbook pain, we have the ability to improve our lot by making investments that can offset the price increases. And we should make those moves now.

Actions to Take: It's time to look at rice futures. The breakout in rice prices, which follows several years of relatively narrow trading, is going to unfold over the course of this year. However, with a true "bumper" crop expected to reach market this spring, I would expect to see some serious attempts from all around the world to "talk down" the price of rice, and to temper inflationary expectations right about at harvest time.

Expect governments to also talk down the risks of food inflation. As part of these efforts, we could well see an increase on margin-holding requirements at the same time. The G-20 is expected to get involved in fighting food inflation in the near future. Expect to see a dip in rice-futures prices at that time. We want to buy this dip.

The drop in near-term prices will be a great chance for us to pick up some options on futures on rice, because prices will head higher from there.

The contracts of interest for me, with enough liquidity to know you can pick up an option on a contract or two, is the "Rough Rice" futures options that expire on Aug. 26, 2011. They are not liquid in the normal manor of an equity-options market. However, they will become more liquid as the month becomes the front contract.

However, if you are patient, and view it is as a call option on a future event possibly happening, this approach gives you a way to wager on an increase in rice prices this summer, while keeping the exposure to a margin call to zero.

Here's a bit of insight. Rice is priced in "hundredweights," with each tick accounting for 1/2 of a cent, or $10 in value.

A full cent move in rice futures is equal to $20. The rice futures contract is made up of 2,000 hundredweights. A single contract of rice represents about 91 tons of rice. When a trader quotes rice, he or she is quoting the price for one hundredweight. In today's market, "rough rice" is trading for $16.290 per hundredweight. This currently values a rice contract at a bit more than $32,000. A futures trader will need to put up about 4% of the value of the contract as margin. The most a contract can move up or down in a day is 50 cents, or $1,000 per contract.
[Editor's Note: If investors have to now worry about the "I-word" - inflation - they're also going to have to worry about the "R-word" - retirement.

Here's the problem: The longer you work, the more you can save - and the longer the rampant inflation we're expecting will have to work on your nest egg.

But here's the solution: Boost your rates of return.

That's actually just as easy as it sounds. You just have to have the right strategy - and the right investments. And as a subscriber to The Money Map Report, our monthly affiliate, you can count on getting both. Find out by clicking here to read a report that details this strategy.]

[Bio Note: Contributing Writer Jack Barnes also writes our popular "Buy, Sell or Hold" column, which appears in Money Morning on Mondays. Barnes started his career at Franklin Templeton in 1997, working in the company's fund-information department - just as the Asian contagion infected the Asian tiger countries. He launched his own RIA shop in 2003, just as the second Gulf War was breaking out. In early 2006, after logging a one-year return of nearly 83%, Forbes named Barnes the top stock picker in its "Armchair Investors Who Beat the Pros" competition. His two audited hedge funds generated double-digit returns in 2008. Barnes - the author of the popular blog, "Confessions of a Macro Contrarian" - retired to the beach in the summer of 2009, and continues to write from there now.]

Source :

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2011 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules