Bangkok: Thai maize exports are expected to double to 1 million tonnes (mt) this year on surging foreign demand after India banned exports last week, traders said on Tuesday.
As exporters rush to find maize to sell abroad, local feedstuff producers will likely come under pressure as the increased demand pushes prices higher, they said.
India’s commerce ministry last week banned the export of maize until 15 October to lift local supplies and tame prices, which have surged on higher overseas sales.
Demand driven: A ban on exports from India has pushed Thailand’s maize export prices to $350 per tonne from $280 in late June.
“More buyers are expected to turn to corn from Thailand after India banned exports,” a Thai trader said. “I think we could export up to 1 million tonnes this year.”
Thailand exported 521,000 tonnes of maize in 2007.
The Indian ban has pushed Thai export maize prices to $350 (Rs15,190) per tonne, up from $280 per tonne in late June, traders said.
Thai maize exports jumped 69% to 131,000 tonnes in the January to May period, compared with the same period a year ago. The main buyers were Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Sales soared to 100,000 tonnes in June, and would likely rise further in the months ahead due to the Indian ban, traders said.
Thailand’s 2008-09 maize crop is estimated at 3.7mt, up from 3.6mt last year, according to the ministry of agriculture.
Demand was likely to outpace supply as exporters compete with feedstuff producers to buy maize, pushing prices higher, traders said. Domestic maize prices were quoted higher at 11.12 baht (about Rs14) per kg on Tuesday, up from 9.0 baht per kg last month, they said.
Prices were expected to ease slightly in August, when 90% of the 2008-09 crop had been harvested. “Prices should remain high for the rest of the year and the local feed industry will have to carry the higher costs,” a trader at a major feedstuff producer said.
Feedstuff producers have requested permission from the commerce ministry to raise their selling price by 20% to help offset the higher cost of maize.