The impacts of covid-19 continue to be reflected across the Italian agro-industry. After a year of bearish trend due to increased competition from Cambodia and Myanmar, Italian arborio paddy prices soared from mid-March, with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 an official pandemic. The announcement is expected to have encouraged further consumers’ panic buying, leading prices to surge by 22.7% w-o-w on 8th April and a substantial rise of €125/MT, a 37.4% increase between the 11th March and 8th April.
Rice varieties such as arborio and carnaroli are the usual varieties used in risotto, a staple and traditional food in Italy. The current lockdown measures throughout the country continue to create negative sentiment and encourage buyers to stockpile non-perishable items. According to research company GfK, spending increased by almost 28% in the first few months of 2020 compared to the previous year. Rice, pasta and canned food are amongst the most popular products as per The General Confederation of Italian Agriculture (Confagricoltura).
Italy is the largest rice producer in Europe, responsible for half of the EU’s total rice production and exporting almost 60% of its total output. The logistic problem created on the back of quarantine restriction is likely to support the bullish trend seen on rice prices.
This is particularly the case as major rice exporters, Vietnam and Thailand, have suspended rice exports to ensure domestic supply amid the dramatic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.