Thailand regains top rice exporter crown

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BANGKOK, June 4 – Thailand has regained the top spot for rice exporters after the first four months of this year, according to Thai Rice Exporters Association.

Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said that from January to May 20 of this year, Thailand exported 3.93 million tons of rice, followed by 3.74 million tons from India and 2.4 million tons from Vietnam.

He also said that Thailand had suffered from low rice prices of about US$390 per ton on average.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the association, predicted that Thailand can retain its top rice export crown throughout this year because Thai rice prices were lower than that of competitors like India and Vietnam that sell their rice at US$420-430 and about US$400 per ton respectively.

The highly demand of rice in China and severe weather experienced worldwide have contributed to the increase of Thai rice export, he said.

He commented that the price of Thai rice could rise by only US$10-20 per ton this year because of its huge stock of nearly 10 million tons.

The United States Department of Agriculture forecasts that the volume of global rice trade will amount to 40.79 million tons of paddy this year and rise by 4.64% year-on-year.

It predicted that Thailand will be the second biggest rice exporter selling 9 million tons, trailing India which should export around 10 million tons. Vietnam will export 6.5 million tons of rice this year.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association also estimates the Thai rice export will total 9 million tons worth US$4.75 billion or Bt150 billion.

China continues to be the biggest importer of rice, with the volume of 3.2-5 million tons so far this year.