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Watch Rice For Clues to Corn.

madhedgefundtrader's picture


Those wondering what to do about their hugely profitable ag positions better take a look at the contract for rough rice, which has skyrocketed by 50% since July to $14.50 a hundred pounds. Rice is the primary food stuff for 3 billion of the world’s 7 billion population, but is predominantly traded and consumed in Asia. That means that it is not widely followed by analysts in the West, and the futures contract for rough rice has been relegated to a quiet, illiquid, backwater of the commodities markets in Chicago.

However, the price of rice may be a valuable leading indicator for the things we do trade in size, like corn (CORN), wheat, and soybeans. Many of the disaster scenarios for the global food supply revolve around Asia, like the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, rising sea levels drowning the Chinese coast, or draughts parching crops in India. Crisis shortages will hit the rice markets there first, then spill over to other foodstuffs here. If China’s rice harvest comes in anywhere less than perfect, then it could suddenly become a large net importer and send prices to the 2008 high of $28/pound.

If that happens, you can count on Vietnam and India immediately banning exports, as they did two years ago, sending prices soaring. That’s when people hit my local Costco branch, cleaning them out of supplies so they could FedEx 50 pound bags to hungry relatives in Asia. It is all just another facet of the great global bull market in food, which I believe started in June (click here for “Going Back Into the Ags” at ).

To see the data, charts, and graphs that support this research piece, as well as more iconoclastic and out-of-consensus analysis, please visit me at . There, you will find the conventional wisdom mercilessly flailed and tortured daily, and my last two years of research reports available for free. You can also listen to me on Hedge Fund Radio by clicking on “This Week on Hedge Fund Radio” in the upper right corner of my home page.


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Sat, 10/30/2010 - 21:58 | 688535 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

I live with the rice eaters and eat it almost every day. No sign of any crisis yet. I know I'm not paying $14.50 a lb either. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:23 | 688292 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

And watch for the price of rice and wheat to determine the ever increasing likelihood of being pistol whipped as you walk away from your ATM.

Every market action has a real world reaction.

And so it goes....

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:49 | 688272 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

$14.50 is per hundredweight which is 1/1000 of a contract.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:00 | 688224 pitz
pitz's picture

Waste in the supply chain will be brought under control, before there's any sort of 'shortages'. 


This is just as ridiculous as those who claim rising coffee prices will hurt Starbucks, when there's all of maybe 5 cents worth of coffee in a $5 latte. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:48 | 688270 anony
anony's picture

If reason is the guiding principle in markets, then why is Priceline at nearly $400?  Gold only at $1300 and change? Katie Couric still on T.V. or Babawawa still there, too?  Martha serving time for a few thousand in profits while Joe Cassano is planning his next heist?  Stan O'neal, Dickie Fuld, Larry Fink, Barney Frank, Chris Dudd, Lord Blankfein, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Charlie Rangel, (the late) John Murtha, et al not in Orange Jump suits?

The world is a sad sad frustrating place for those who only have very reasonable minds.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 02:26 | 688723 pitz
pitz's picture

Priceline nearly $400?  What the hell?  They're a freakin discount travel agency.  Goddamn, that's hilarious. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:26 | 688200 ThisIsBob
ThisIsBob's picture

Watch lumber!

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:07 | 688185 LadyH
LadyH's picture

I was recently in China. Rice production is barely mechanized yet. Rising yields will make bullshit out of all your long term arguments.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:58 | 688339 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

I was recently in China, too.  Very plain what the declining EROEI for oil will do to your argument.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:41 | 688163 GoldSilverDoc
GoldSilverDoc's picture

I'm ready to sell all mine, today, for $14.00 a pound. 

I have about 500 lbs in the basement.

I will deliver.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:34 | 688161 Pondmaster
Pondmaster's picture

What about the WORLDWIDE fertilizer cartel ? re: MOS , POT , AGU , CF

What is best way to store rice in the home ?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:57 | 688278 Oracle of Kypseli
Oracle of Kypseli's picture

Better yet, from my grandma.

Put one bay leaf per 5lb of rice in the bag. It works. There is something in the smell that prevents microbe attacks.   

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:53 | 688335 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Better stilll, plant a bay laurel tree (Laurus nobilis).

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:19 | 688195 Triggernometry
Triggernometry's picture

Buy a food sealer, buy rice in bulk, buy desiccant bags online; heat the rice in an oven at 185 for at least an hour to kill of microbes, seal the rice with desiccant, check yearly. Rice is very easy to keep, and greatly expands when cooked so you can optimize your storage space per unit volume. Properly stored rice can go decades easily, but be sure to check for rot from time to time(a sign you didn't kill off all microbes). I remember reading about a discovery of grain urns from hundreds of years ago, apparently kept so well they were still edible.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:23 | 688149 tahoe69
tahoe69's picture

per hundred pound?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:19 | 688144 TheSettler
TheSettler's picture

$14.50 a pound? better check your numbers and decimal points...idiot

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