U.S. rice export forecast raised by 2 million cwt.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has raised its total 2002/03 U.S. rice export forecast by 2 million cwt. to a record 109 million (rough-equivalent basis), nearly 16 percent higher than a year earlier. All of the upward revision was for long grain rice, with both rough and milled (including brown rice) exports boosted a million cwt.

Total domestic use is projected at a record 124.8 million cwt. — fractionally below last month's forecast, a result of slightly lower seed use.

Total use is projected at a record 233.8 million cwt, up fractionally from last month and 7 percent above a year earlier. There were no supply-side revisions this month. Ending stocks for 2002/03 were lowered by 1.9 million cwt. to 29.2 million cwt., 25 percent below a year earlier.

The 2002/03 U.S. season-average farm price range was raised 10 cents on both the low and high end to $4-$4.20 per cwt., still the lowest since 1986/87. The upward revision is based on reported monthly cash prices through mid-March and weekly price quotes. from industry sources reported through early April.

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