Heat Wave Scorching Crops in China May Cut Rice, Cotton Output


Rice and cotton output in China, the world’s biggest producer, may drop this year amid a deadly heat wave across much of the country, according to researcher Shanghai JC Intelligence Co.

Hangzhou, Chongqing and Fuzhou provinces across the middle of the country are bracing for their hottest days so far this year, the Shanghai Daily reported today. Temperatures are expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in Shanghai where the heat wave has killed at least 11 people since July, according to the report.

Rice output along the lower Yangtze River and in southwest China may be threatened by a lack of rain, the official China National Grain and Oils Information Center said today in an e-mailed report. Cotton plants across the Yangtze River basin are becoming dryer, causing bud shedding, according to another report today by broker INTL FCStone.

“The impact on rice will be quite substantial as the drought is getting worse in some of the main growing regions,” said Li Qiang, managing director at Shanghai JC. He declined to give a figure. The harvest for the mid-to-late rice crop will start in late September to early October.

The crop accounts for most of the rice harvested in China, Li said. Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces in the center of the country, where high temperatures are expected to continue in the coming days, contribute to about 40 percent of the country’s total production, Li said.

Cotton, generally regarded as a heat-tolerant plant, will also be affected, though any losses so far seem negligible amid oversupply in China, Li said.

Unhusked rice output is expected to rise by 1.2 percent this year to 206.7 million metric tons on expanded acreage and improved yield, according to the CNGOIC forecast last month. A new forecast is scheduled to be released next week, said Wang Xiaohui, an analyst at the center in Beijing.

Cotton output in China may rise to 7.22 million tons this year, according to a Cotlook Ltd. report on July 25. The forecast was raised from 7.05 million tons projected in June.

Source: Bloomberg