Bangkok: Rice exports from Thailand, the world’s biggest exporter of the commodity, jumped 72% this year as prices rose to records on scarce global supplies.
The South-East Asian nation exported 2.82 million tonnes (mt) of rice from January to 21 March, compared with 1.64mt in the same period last year, Wiroon Techapaiboon, Thailand’s deputy commerce minister, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Rice has almost doubled in the past year on the Chicago Board of Trade as China, Vietnam and India curb exports to secure local supplies. The Philippines, the largest importer, plans to buy the grain from an emergency regional stockpile and take additional supplies from the US.
Thailand’s top-grade fragrance rice may climb to a record $1,000 (Rs40,100) a tonne by the end of June from around $900 currently, Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of Thailand’s Rice Exporters Association, said on 24 March.
The country sold the grain this year at an average $433 a tonne, 14% more than last year. Wiroon said the country aims to export 8.75mt this year. Thailand produces as much as 7mt of rice in the second crop this year. This will enter the market from March to May and so “we shouldn’t be worried about a local shortage,” Wiroon said.