Source: USDA FAS Gain Report:
Based on the January 2018 reported planting intentions of Japanese Prefectures, Japan’s MY2018/19 (November – October) rice planting area is forecast at 1.56 million hectares (unchanged from reduced MY2017/18 levels). Assuming normal weather conditions, and despite fluctuations in the types of rice produced, FAS/Tokyo forecasts MY2018/19 total rice production to match MY2017/18 volumes (7.58 million MT).
MY2017/18 total milled rice consumption is expected to fall 0.5 percent to 8. 45 million MT based on declines in per-capita table rice consumption and the Japan’s overall population. The wholesale price of domestic table rice in Japan rose 8.6 percent in MY2016/17, and another 8.6 percent in MY2017/18. Three years of consecutive price increases are expected to accelerate the decline in table rice consumption. The purchase volume of table rice per two-person-households decreased two percent to 67.7 kilograms in calendar year 2017, marking the ninth consecutive year of this decline, while the per kilogram price for table rice increased four percent. Additionally, the foodservice and home meal replacement (HMR) sectors reportedly have started to reduce serving portions in their products rather than raise consumer prices. As a result, MY2018/19 total milled rice consumption is forecast to decrease further to 8.4 million MT; assuming prices remain at current levels.
As of mid-March, 678,846 MT (actual tonnage) of minimum access rice was successfully bid for JFY2017 – 100,000 MT of Simultaneous Buy and Sell (SBS) rice and 578,846 MT of OMA rice.
As a result of three years of declining production (MY2015/16 – MY2017/18), private stocks have gradually decreased. Together with MAFF’s 828,100 MT of rice in reserve and OMA rice stocks, aggregate ending stocks are projected at 2.27 million MT in MY2017/18, and two million MT in MY2018/19.
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