In the first decade of thismillennium, rising food prices returned as a concern for policy makers, especially in developing economies. This paper examines how supply shocks, both domestic and foreign, impacted imports and consumption in the world rice market between 1960 and 2010. Such an investigation is important in assessing the role of trade in compensating for domestic shocks. If shortages lead economies to impose trade restrictions, then trade may not be allowed to play an important role in stabilizing consumption. The existing literature has highlighted the importance of these policy shocks in the world rice market and how they have worked to increase the volatility of prices and trade flows. Although trade cannot be expected to play a strong role when the major producing and consuming economies are simultaneously hit by negative yield shocks, such a scenario has occurred in only about 3% of all observed cases. We also find that consumption fails to stabilize even when domestic shocks are negative and foreign shocks are positive; however, imports do peak. Thus, while trade does help in coping with domestic risks, it is unable to achieve full risk sharing. Therefore, no matter the nature of foreign shocks, the principal concern is to stabilize consumptionwhen an economy is hit by negative domestic yield shocks. The frequency of such shocks is about 12% in all observed cases, highlighting the importance of domestic responses. We find that domestic rice stocks have been important in stabilizing consumption. The reliance on domestic policies has, in turn, kept the rice market thin.
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