Thailand: Rice exports poised to top 8m tonnes

Thailand’s rice exports are likely to exceed 8 million tonnes this year, driven by the resumption of purchases by Iraq and India’s restrictions on rice shipments.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said rice shipments will benefit if India maintains it ban on exports of broken rice and 20% duty on exports of various other types until the end of this year.

India, the world’s biggest exporter of grain, a couple of weeks ago banned shipments of broken rice and slapped a 20% duty on exports of various other types as the country tries to boost supplies and calm prices after a below-average monsoon rainfall curtailed planting.

According to Mr Chookiat, India’s restrictions are likely to leave its exports this year at around 17 million tonnes, down from 21.2 million tonnes in the 2021/22 season.

“Prior to the restrictions, prices of India’s white rice jumped to US$400 per tonne from $340-345 per tonne, getting close to the free-on-board Thai white rice prices now quoted at $420-430 per tonne. This makes Thai white rice exports more competitive, prompting many importing countries in Africa to return to buy Thai rice,” he said.

Mr Chookiat said rice exports were also helped by the resumption of imports by Iraq in the second half of last year after suspending Thai rice purchases for a decade.

This year, Iraq has become an important export market for Thai rice, with shipments expected to total 1.2-1.3 million tonnes. Iraq has already imported almost 1 million tonnes of Thai rice.

“This year will be a good one for Thai rice exports. We are bullish on the rice export volume exceeding 8 million tonnes this year, fetching 150 billion baht, up from 110 billion last year,” he said.

In the first seven months this year, rice exports amounted to 4.08 million tonnes, up 53.6% year-on-year, with export values increasing by 41.9% to 71.1 billion baht.

India shipped 10.3 million tonnes during the same period (-4%), while Vietnam shipped 4.07 million tonnes (+16.7%), Pakistan 2.35 million tonnes (+26.5%) and the US 1.4 million tonnes (-18.1%).

Thailand shipped 6.11 million tonnes of rice last year, up 6.68% from 5.73 million tonnes in 2020, valued at 108 billion baht, down by 7.14%.

Last year’s shipments comprised 2.35 million tonnes of white rice (+18.9%), 1.4 million tonnes of Thai hom mali rice (-1.7%), 1.4 million tonnes of parboiled rice (+1.6%), 550,574 tonnes of aromatic rice (-4.1%) and 310,878 tonnes of glutinous rice (+12.4%).

For the 2021/2022 harvest season, rice production is projected at 20 million tonnes of milled rice.

Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2394821/rice-exports-poised-to-top-8m-tonnes