COMMODITY BRIEFS

COMMODITY BRIEFS

US RICE GAINS CITED

IF JAPAN EASES MARKETThe head of the U.S. Rice Millers Association said here Tuesday U.S. rice producers could export around 500,000 metric tons of rice to Japan annually once Japan liberalizes its rice market.

The comments were made by Ronald Caffey, RMA chairman, who is in Japan to exhibit U.S.-grown rice at an international convention held at in the Chiba

prefecture.

But another official said the estimate is too high, if the different tastes of the Japanese people and other factors are considered.

MORE COPPER MINERS

JOIN STRIKE IN PERU

NEW YORK - Union workers struck Southern Peru Copper Corp.'s Toquepala mine Tuesday, rounding out the shutdown of the company's three operations, an SPCC spokesman said Tuesday.

The 2,500 workers joined the 1,300 at SPCC's Ilo smelter and 1,000 at its Cuajone mine who Monday walked off the job over issues of pay raises and wage indexing to Peru's inflation rate. All five unions at the operations are now on strike, the spokesman said.

SPCC produced 65 percent of Peru's copper in January, according to the state ministry of energy and mines. Toquepala is the smaller of the two mines, with output in January pegged at 7,600 metric tons. Cuajone produced 11,630 tons of copper during the period.

SPCC is 52.3 percent owned by Asarco Inc. The spokesman said it has not been determined if management will attempt to staff the operations.

USDA WIDENS AREA

OF MEDFLY QUARANTINE

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended its Medfly quarantine area in California Tuesday to new sections of Los Angeles and Orange County.

Areas quarantined are Pomona in Los Angeles County, Garden Grove in Orange County and the adjacent areas of Brea and Westminster, the USDA said.