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India puts new bans on rice exports. Will the US feel them?

The U.S. imports rice from India, but new export restrictions there probably won't affect the U.S. market much.
A worker harvests rice in India
Posted at 9:25 PM, Jul 21, 2023

India has instituted a new ban on the export of certain grades of rice, raising the possibility of new food supply disruptions that could be felt worldwide.

The ban applies specifically to non-basmati white rice exports, and could cut India's overall rice exports by a quarter. The country supplies about 40% of the rice eaten worldwide.

The new restriction is an attempt to slow down food inflation in India. Locally, officials say rice is 11% more expensive than it was last year.

The U.S. imports more than a quarter of the rice it consumes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most that comes in from India is of aromatic varieties like basmati, which means that the new export limits might not affect U.S. consumers as much as others.

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But three billion people worldwide eat rice as a staple crop, and prices are currently the highest they've been in a decade. 

India's new restrictions mean certain markets in Africa and Asia may not have easy alternatives to fill supply shortfalls.

Experts worry that India curtailing supply could cause market shocks that might be even more disruptive than those seen in the grain market during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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