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FAO Sees World Rice Stocks Rising Eight Per Cent In 2009

World stocks of rice, one of the food staples across the globe, are expected this year to hit the highest level since 2002 on the back of strong output in 2008, the United Nations’ food agency said on Feb. 25.

World rice stocks carried over to 2009 are forecast to rise eight per cent to 118 million tonnes which would cover nearly 26 per cent, or three months of expected consumption this year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

World paddy rice output rose 3.5 per cent in 2008 to 683 million tonnes, or 456 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent, it said in its rice market report.

The 2008 output growth pace was the highest since 2005 and was powered by improved yields per hectare and increased planted areas, the Romebased agency said.

Much of the stock buildup is expected to happen in exporting countries, especially in China and India which hold the largest rice reserves. But traditional importers, such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are also expected to boost their rice inventories.

Global rice trade is expected to rise by 200,000 tonnes to 31 million tonnes in 2009.

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