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Changes in grain markets and their consequences

Rice prices in global markets have increased by 14% since June last year as significant producers reduce trade and supplies. The world’s largest rice exporter, India, last month imposed a ban on selling white rice other than basmati abroad. The United Arab Emirates, a major importer and re-exporter of Indian rice, has also reduced the sale of its supplies to other countries. Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, has urged Thai farmers to reduce crops as part of water-saving measures. In response, the Vietnamese government is expected to increase rice production and exports amid threats to global supplies.

Rice is an essential component of about half of the global population’s diet and accounts for as much as 60% of all calories consumed by people in parts of Southeast Asia and Africa and even more in countries such as Bangladesh.

China’s decision to lift tariffs on Australian barley could shake up global barley trade, and the return of Aussie suppliers will intensify competition with other exporters for the share of the world’s largest import market. Before Beijing imposed heavy tariffs on supplies from Australia in 2020, cutting off a market worth around $660 million. Annually, Australians provided up to 70% of their barley imports. Over the past three years, China has shifted to buying more grain from France, Canada and Argentina, while Australia has sought alternative outlets in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, Kuwait and Mexico.

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