June 10, 2008 / 1:05 PM / 11 years ago

USDA sees Myanmar rice crop even smaller in '08/09

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) - Myanmar’s rice crop will be even smaller than expected after the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Tuesday, reducing its production estimate for 2008/09 by 6 percent.

USDA, in its monthly outlook report for world agriculture production, lowered its previous month’s forecast for the country’s rice crop by 600,000 tonnes to 9.4 million tonnes.

"The decline in Burma’s crop results both from a reduction in area and an expected decline in average yield due to the effects of the storm damage from Cyclone Nargis in early May," USDA said.

The cyclone hit hard in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and its Irrawaddy delta region, which produces a third of the country’s rice crop.

Global rice production, meanwhile, was forecast slightly lower than the previous month, down 600.000 tonnes at 431.41 million tonnes. Production estimates for some major exporters, like India, Vietnam and Thailand, were unchanged.

USDA also said it expected global ending stocks would be 81.5 million tonnes, down 1.1 million tonnes from last month’s forecast.

On Monday, U.S. rough rice for July shipment RRN8 dropped 4 cents to $19.92 per hundredweight, below the record high of $24.68-1/2 per cwt set on April 24. (Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by John Picinich) (Email: missy.ryan@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898 8376))

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