El Nino threatens to widen rice production shortfalls in Brazil, South America's largest grower, and the Philippines, the world's biggest importer, potentially increasing competition among buyers and pushing up prices.
Brazil's imports may climb to one million metric tonnes because heavy rains may have damaged the crop, US Rice Producers' Association President Dwight Roberts said yesterday. That is a third more than a forecast from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Philippines yesterday more than doubled its forecast for potential El Nino-related losses to as much as 816,372 tonnes.
El Nino, characterised by a warming of the equatorial Pacific, brings increased rain to South America and drought or reduced rainfall in Asia, hurting crops.
The weather pattern is forecast to last through June.
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