Thailand's rice exports likely to drop this year

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 By  MCOT

BANGKOK, Jan 16 – The Thai Rice Exporters Association on Monday announced that the country’s rice exports will fall by 2.5-4 million tonnes to 6.5-8 million tonnes from last year’s 10.5 million tonnes.

Thai Rice Exporters Association  President Korbsook Iamsuree said that rice exports face many obstacles this year.  The US Department of Agriculture believes that the global rice trade will amount to 31.88 million tonnes, dropping from about three million tonnes from last year’s 34.78 million tonnes.

A major factor is India’s export policies with India resuming rice exports after a three year suspension. It has already allowed exports of two million tonnes of rice and added rice export permissions are likely to negatively impact Thai exports, in particular white rice and parboiled rice which could drop by another 1.5 million tonnes, she said.

In addition, Thai rice prices are higher than their competitors due to the government’s rice mortgage scheme.

For example, Thailand’s five per cent white rice and five per cent parboiled rice, both exported at the same price, US$533 per tonne, while Indian rice is priced at $435 per tonne for five per cent white rice and $450 for five per cent parboiled rice.

Vietnamese jasmine rice sales at $350-450 per tonne, cheaper than Thai rice. Vietnam has grabbed a share of Thailand’s current rice export market, in particular in Asia, according to Ms Korbsook.

In addition, several other countries have also increased rice exports this year. They include Cambodia, Myanmar, Brazil, Uruguay and Pakistan, she said.

Thai rice prices and production this year also depend on regional conditions and any possible natural disaster as well as currency exchange fluctuations and the government’s policies. Currently, Thai rice price is the world’s most expensive, said the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

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