The government is expected to further lower the bar on rice imports, in a bid to boost the country’s food supply, industry experts said. The China National Grain and Oils Information Center forecast that the country’s rice output will drop 0.7 percent year-on-year to 202.8 million metric tons in 2013, indicating the rice production is falling after stable output growth for a decade. As the world’s biggest rice consumer, China imported between 500,000 and 600,000 metric tons of rice per year until 2012, when local prices lost their competitiveness against rice imported from neighboring countries…Full-text article: Xinhua Oct 2013

Key point

  • According to a study by the Harbin-based Northeast Agricultural University, approximately 30% of retail (domestic) rice prices are due to transportation costs (from Heilongjiang to consumer markets in Zhejiang and Jiangsu). Consequently, during peak consumption seasons logistics companies in southern China often turn to nearby Southeast Asian nations (e.g. Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam) to satisfy demand.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In 2011, China produced 201 million metric tons (MTs) of rice or approximately 28% of the global output. Chinese rice production is spread out across the country, with highest concentration located around the Yangtze River. In 2011, Hunan province produced 25.7 million MTs of rice, which accounted for approximately 13% of Chinese output. The next largest producers were Heilongjiang province at 20.6 million MTs or 10% of Chinese output, and Jiangxi province at 19.5 million MTs (also 10%).
  • From 2008 onwards, imports progressively increased, reaching 922,052 MTs in 2011. The first nine months of 2012 saw historic import highs, with total volumes reaching 2.1 million MTs by September of that year.
  • From 2006 to 2011, Thailand was the primary supplier of rice to the China. Starting in 2010, a shift towards Vietnamese imports began to occur and by 2012, Vietnam overtook Thailand as the top supplier to China. Small secondary suppliers of note include Lao, Australia, and Pakistan.

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