Thailand sees continuing decline in rice exports

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BANGKOK, March 22 – Thailand’s rice exports in the first two months of this year dropped both in volume and value, the Rice Exporters Association reported today.

It said Thailand exported 10.5 million tonnes of rice at a total value of Bt22.361 billion in January and February, a decrease in volume and value by 0.9 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Five top importers of Thai rice were Iraq (168,337 tonnes), Benin (114,654 tonnes), the US (66,011 tonnes), South Africa (56,198 tonnes) and Congo (55,454 tonnes).

Exports of white and Hom Mali (jasmine) rice in February slid down 17 per cent compared to January while exports of boiled rice to Benin increased in February – a contrast to a sharp drop to Nigeria due to the country’s increase of import tax on rice to 110 per cent and offers of cheaper boiled rice from other exporting countries.

The association said Thailand has been losing its competitiveness in the global rice market since its price is US$120-180/tonne higher than other exporting countries.

Thailand is losing its market to competitors like Vietnam, India and Pakistan, it said, adding that Vietnam has sold its five per cent white rice at US$395-405/tonne – the lowest in the global market – while India and Pakistan offered at US$440-450/tonne (FOB) and US$430-440/tonne respectively.

Thailand exports 5 per cent white rice at US$573/tonne (FOB).

The association predicted Thailand’s export volume at only 500,000 tonnes this month due to oversupply and Vietnam’s release of a large volume in the market.

Exports of Hom Mali rice to the US and Asian countries like Hong Kong and China will continue though at a minimal volume, the association said.