Strong Thai baht may affect stockpile of government pledged rice.

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Bangkok, 29 April 2013, Sources from the Commerce Ministry say the nation’s baht appreciation may cause difficulties for the government in selling the pledged rice in stock, saying the targeted 180 billion baht from the rice pledging scheme may not be realized as trading partners tend to purchase cheaper rice from other countries. The sources said that the stronger baht would likely affect the Government to Government (G-to-G) deals with countries like South Korea and Nigeria, adding that the signed G-to-G deals involving the 7.3 million tons of rice is a done deal that the Ministry can not renegotiate for a higher price. Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, however, is confident that the government has enough funds to shoulder the new season of its rice pledging scheme. Since the fourth quarter of last year, the ministry has managed to return nearly 80 billion baht to the Finance Ministry; 40 billion baht of which in the first quarter of this year alone. Despite the baht situation which may affect the income from the sale of rice, he reiterated that the Commerce Ministry would be able to return as much money to the Finance Ministry as earlier scheduled for the remaining quarters. If the government comes up with swift solutions the situation, the plan to pay back the Commerce Minister will be unaffected. As for the next round of G-to-G auction, the ministry will announce it when it can determine the market’s direction.