Strong baht may drag down Thailand’s rice exports

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BANGKOK, May 15 – Thailand is unlikely to re-emerge as the world’s top exporter of rice given its current high prices and the strengthening baht, a leading rice exporter said today.

Kobsuk Iemsuree, chairwoman of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the appreciating baht has put Thai exporters in a grim situation as Thailand mainly exports premium rice while foreign consumers prefer rice at cheaper prices.

Thailand may not achieve this year’s export target of six million tonnes despite an earlier adjustment from the original target of 6.5 million tonnes, she said.

She said the rice export volume should surge in Q3 and surpass the combined Q1 and Q2 volumes due to depleting stocks among importing countries like Japan, Iraq, Iran and varied African nations.

Thai exporters would like government-to-government rice deals, but they accept the fact that Thailand’s heyday on top of the rice market will not return.

The Commerce Ministry is sponsoring the Thailand Rice Convention 2013 in Chiang Mai from May 26 through 28 where rice dealers and officials from 40 countries will meet to exchange views on rice development and the global rice industry.

More than 500 rice dealers will contract business during the convention, which is aimed at pushing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) towards a role as the world’s rice hub, said Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom. (