Cash grain prices mixed as demand outlook remains uncertain

Rice prices in Hubei province ticked higher by 3 yuan per ton over the past week to 2700 yuan per ton. The increase is mostly due to tightness in the cash market. State purchases of rice were relatively fast this year which has led to a lack of high-quality rice left in the hands of farmers or traders. 

Demand is weaker due to a reduction in the food service and canteen operations. Due to the easing of Covid restrictions, many colleges and universities are ending their semesters early for students to return home for the holiday break. Many primary and secondary schools across the country are also seeing reduced attendance due to a combination of sick students being out or parents pulling their kids from school due to worries about them getting sick. 

This has weighed on the demand for rice and other products. Historically, when consumers have stayed at home, overall demand tends to be smaller. 

Wheat prices dipped 6 yuan per ton over the past week in Hubei to 3121 yuan per ton. Logistics have improved which has helped ease prices as the government scrapped the national location track health codes and provinces removed restrictions and many testing requirements. Flour millers are becoming more active in purchasing ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, but the demand outlook remains uncertain. 2022 has seen historical seasonal peaks in demand for a variety of products fail to live up to expectations. 

Rapeseed oil prices in the province fell 30 yuan per ton to 14,180 yuan per ton. The domestic supply of rapeseed is very tight and is significantly higher than the price of imported Canadian rapeseed.