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Rough Rice Futures

Rough Rice FuturesRice is the staple food for the world’s two largest populations and fastest growing economies: India and China. Given this fact, it is unsurprising that the top three producers of rice in the world are China, India, and Indonesia, in that order. The term ‘rough rice’ refers to rice that has just come off the fields from harvest. Because it is such a necessity for literally billions of people, many traders and speculators find rough rice an attractive commodity to invest in.

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Rough Rice Facts

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), rice farming is a high-cost, high-yielding, large-scale production section in the U.S. and depends on global markets for almost half its annual sales. The U.S. rice crop is grown in four regions across the country with three in the South and one in California. Each region specialize in their own type of rice grain that is described in length (long, medium, or short). There are four major types of rice that are produced worldwide:

  • Indica – mainly grown in tropical and subtropical regions; accounts for over 75% of global trade
  • Japonica – typically grown in regions with cooler climates; accounts for over 10% of global trade
  • Aromatic – primarily jasmine from Thailand, and basmati from India and Pakistan; accounts for 12-13% of global trade sold at a premium
  • Glutinous – mainly grown in Southeast Asia

The planting and harvesting season for U.S. rice begins in some regions in March, with some regions harvesting as late as November. All U.S. rice is grown in irrigated fields, which allows for some of the highest harvest yields in the world. The U.S. exports approximately half of their rice crop throughout the world, making up more than 10% of the total volume of global rice trade.

Last updated October 2015.

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