President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association Korbsuk Iamsuree said the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasted that international rice trade in 2013 will stand at 37.37 million tons, down by 4.35 percent compared to the previous year. She said the USDA still ranked Thailand as the top rice exporter, projecting this year’s export at 8 million tons.
The association voiced their belief that Thai rice export can meet the USDA’s expectation if this year’s government-to-government rice deals, registered at 1.5 million tons, are included in the total number.
Thailand remains a major rice exporter to Nigeria, Iraq, Ivory Coast and South Africa, with Hong Kong being the biggest export market for Thai jasmine rice.
Ms Korbsuk warned that Thailand could face a further drop in exports this year due to the strengthening baht currency and the high price of Thai rice compared to its rivals.