Thailand. Rice price dip temporary


A high-ranking state official and a rice exporter came out in concert to defend a recent dip in rice prices, saying the fall is short-lived.

Deputy Commerce Minister Chutima Bunyapraphasara said the recent price drop might stem from purchase delays by rice importers and heavy rains deterring transport and rice delivery.

The Internal Trade Department reported domestic prices of 5% white milled rice (newly harvested) had risen to 12,900-13,000 baht a tonne in late April, while the export prices of 5% white rice announced by Thai Rice Exporters Association were quoted at US$459 per tonne as of April 25.

Both prices remained steady until early June, when the department reported domestic 5% white rice prices dropped to 12,100-12,200 baht a tonne, while export prices were quoted by the association on June 13 at $437 a tonne.

Ms Chutima said there is nothing to worry about as the decline is only short term. Thailand's rice prospects remain in good shape and massive purchase orders for Thai rice have accrued from earlier months from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines.

She said more purchase orders in the second half of the year are anticipated from China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Africa.

"The Commerce Ministry remains confident of achieving its rice export target of 10 million tonnes this year," she said.

Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the recent fall for both for the domestic and export rice prices likely stems from lower imports after traders ramped up their purchases earlier, as indicated by Thailand's rice export figures, which rose 4% in the first five months of this year to 4.5 million tonnes.

"Average exports of 900,000 tonnes a month is considered high and the shipments were mostly white rice," he said.

Mr Charoen said the export price dip was partly because of new supply from Vietnam's summer-autumn rice crop, scheduled for harvest in late June. The new supply has weakened demand for Thai grains, leading certain importers to buy rice from Vietnam, he said.


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