The Ministry of Commerce has confirmed that Thailand is benefiting from India’s rice export ban and has no reason to halt its own shipments, as it has sufficient output for exports and domestic consumption.
India in late July ordered a halt to its largest rice export category in a move that will roughly halve shipments by the world’s largest exporter of the grain, triggering fears of further inflation on global food markets.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told a press briefing that the Indian ban provides an opportunity for Thai rice producers, especially in Africa which consumes large volumes of rice from India.
He said, “With India’s export ban, global prices rise as volumes drop,” adding that “farmers can sell paddy rice at higher prices.”
However, he noted that global prices are volatile and the government will closely monitor the situation.
Charoen Laothamatas, President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, told the briefing that Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, is expected to export more than 8 million metric tons of rice this year.
He said Thailand shipped 4.8 million metric tons in the first seven months, with monthly exports of 700,000 to 800,000 tons. Last year’s rice exports were 7.71 million tons.
Charoen also said, “The world market is very turbulent because of speculation in every market, affecting countries that do not have stocks in hand,” adding that Thai rice export prices might increase by 20% after the Indian ban.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, Honorary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said exporters were reluctant to quote prices while waiting for more clarity and were likely to halt shipments for a time. (NNT)