The world has a glut of rice. July estimates from the US Department of Agriculture show expectations of world rice stocks reaching 108.0 million tonnes in 2013 and 2014. The last time global reserves were this full was in 2001 and 2002, when 132.9 million tonnes were stored.
The USDA reports (pdf) that stocks are down in the United States, Indonesia, and Vietnam but up in China, Nigeria, and Thailand.
The type of Thai rice that is used to benchmark prices in Asia has declined 4.97% this year, as the Thai government has heavily subsidized the nation’s crop. (Prices are down substantially from the incredible highs of 2008 caused by an unfounded panic over rice shortages.)
The Thai “paddy pledging program” has lead to rampant smuggling from neighboring Cambodia and Myanmar, according to Reuters.