USDA global rice trade
Rice imports by global region.

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.— Global trade in rice is expected to decline for the second consecutive year in 2016, reflecting reduced exports from India, Australia, Cambodia, and the U.S., and softening demand, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service said in a February 2016 report.

Reduced imports by Nigeria — the world’s second-largest rice import market — account for the largest share of the decline in global rice trade. Imports by Nigeria are expected to fall 17% in 2016, the result of a recent increase in import tariffs, declining oil revenues, and foreign exchange restrictions. Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, the E.U., Nepal, and Sri Lanka are also expected to reduce rice imports this year.

The decline in global trade comes despite further growth in demand by China, the world’s largest rice importing country, as well as expanded imports by the Middle East and Indonesia. Rice imports by China have been at record high levels since 2012 and are expected to grow 4% in 2016, reflecting prices that are lower in the global market than the domestic market, stock-building efforts by the government, and quality concerns regarding domestic rice.