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Rice Jumps to Record, Corn Near High as Demand Outpaces Supply

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    Rice climbed to a record and corn traded near its highest ever on speculation a 3 percent annual increase in global demand for cereals will outstrip supply as governments curb exports to prevent protests. ​
    Rice, the staple food for about 3 billion people, rose 2.4 percent in Chicago trading today after doubling in the past year. Soybeans advanced for the third day and wheat gained as investors bought agricultural commodities on concern dry weather in the Great Plains and heavy rain in the eastern Midwest may curtail U.S. production and push down global inventories.
    The World Bank estimates ``that 33 countries around the world face potential social unrest because of the acute hike in food and energy prices,'' Robert Zoellick, the bank's president, said on the organization's Web site. For these countries ``there is no margin for survival,'' he said.
    China, India and Vietnam have cut rice exports, and Indonesia has reduced import tariffs to protect food supplies and cool inflation. Rice in Chicago climbed 42 percent in the first quarter, the biggest such increase in at least 14 years. Record grain prices contributed to strikes in Argentina, riots in Ivory Coast and a crackdown on illicit exports in Pakistan.
    Rough rice for May delivery advanced to $20.26 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade today as the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said global exports will drop 3.5 percent this year as nations curb sales.
    ``The international rice market is currently facing a particularly difficult situation with demand outstripping supply and substantial price increases,'' said Concepcion Calpe, a senior economist at the Rome-based FAO, an agency that seeks to achieve global food security.

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