Thai rice exports increase, reaches Bt107 billion Jan-June

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BANGKOK, July 27 – Thailand’s rice exports increased to 6.3 million tonnes in the first half of 2011, valued at Bt107 billion, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

Association president Korbsook Iamsuri said the expansion was 58 per cent in volume and 37 per cent in value, as Indonesia and Bangladesh needed more rice, after facing natural disasters, and Thailand released the grain from its reserves late last year.

Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq and Iran are the main importers of Thai rice.

The average amount of Thai rice exports reached its highest monthly record this year –over one million tonnes, priced at US$535 per tonne. A tonne of white rice 5 per cent currently costs US$545-550 in the world market, according to Ms Korbsook.

She was confident that the country’s rice supply is sufficient for domestic need and exports, adding that some 10 million tonnes were estimated to be exported this year. However, it also depends on the rice mortgage scheme which would make rice prices rise to US$840/tonne, impeding the competitiveness of Thai rice.

Other factors possibly affecting exports are currency exchange rates and more competitors in the market.

A new rice mortgage plan will be implemented by the new administration to replace the price guarantee program of the outgoing government.

India has officially announced that its rice prices will be lower than Thailand’s, which are at US$450/tonne for white rice 5 per cent, making it about US$100 cheaper than Thai rice, Ms Korbsook said.

Meanwhile, Thai Rice Exporters Association honorary president Chookiat Ophaswongse believed the price of Thai rices will increase dramatically once the rice mortgage scheme starts. He said the association will wait and see how the new government will help rice exporters to survive and compete in the world market.