Hubei reports increased heat damage to new crop rice, sluggish demand for flour

Hubei province noted increased damage among the newly harvested mid-season rice in the region, but rice prices remain relatively stable.  

Mid-season rice prices are up slightly to 2,605 yuan/ton ($376 USD/ton). This is up 6 yuan/ton compared to the prior week, and up 30 yuan/ton compared to this point last year.  

Traders noted increased heat damage, with a higher rate of shriveled or damaged grains. But compared to previous years, there was a lower rate of pest or moisture damage.  

Wheat prices ticked down 1 yuan/ton to 3,041 yuan/ton ($439 USD/ton) but are still up 19.7% compared to last year.  

Hubei’s Food Administration also noted weak demand for flour, despite August usually being a period of seasonally strong demand ahead of schools resuming and pre-stocking for the upcoming Mid-Autumn festival.  

Schools in many cities, including Dalian, Chengdu, Tianjin, and Shenzhen, have delayed their resumption of classes due to Covid outbreaks.  

The government described downstream and consumer demand as “sluggish” and attributed this weakness to a combination of high temperatures and Covid lockdowns. Most flour millers are now just using existing inventory as demand is weak and the province saw no turnover in government stocks through auctions this week.  

Rapeseed prices were also lower as crushers have seen margins fall. There is also a market expectation of larger imports in coming months, and this has negatively affected demand for domestic rapeseed.