"So It Begins": US Supermarkets Hit With Buying Panic As India Bans Rice Exports

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jul 25, 2023 - 11:45 PM

The decision by India to ban certain rice exports has sparked panic buying at supermarkets across the US. Videos circulating on social media show the staple food is flying off the shelves as high demand depletes supplies amid concerns of a global shortage. Some supermarkets have responded by implementing purchase limits, while others have hiked prices. The scenes below should remind readers of the panic buying days during Covid. 

India's export restriction applies to shipments of non-basmati white rice. The move is to contain food inflation by ensuring ample domestic supplies, as the El Niño weather pattern heavily impacts farm production. India is the largest exporter of rice. 

We provided readers with enough understanding that rice, which is critical to the diets of billions of people worldwide, was headed for a shortage:

"India's export ban needs to be seen in the light of this ominous setting," Peter Timmer, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, told Bloomberg. He has studied food security for decades and warned: 

"There is considerably more reason for concern now that rice prices in Asia could spiral out of control pretty quickly."

The president of the world's largest rice shipper had this to say:

"In the short term, the price is definitely going up, it's just a question of how high up it will go.

"And it will be a spike, it's not going to be increasing incrementally," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. 

Bloomberg data shows Thailand White Rice 5% is around $534 per ton, nearly a two-year high, and headed for a possible break above $579, which would mean prices would be back to 2012 highs. 

India's latest move has sparked panic buying of the grain.