The association’s latest forecast for Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter last year, is lower than its previous expectation of a seven-year low of 7.5 million tons for 2020.
It attributed that to a persistently strong baht compared to other currencies and drought cutting Thai rice output by 5 million tons this production season, making prices higher and uncompetitive.
“The new forecast of 6.5 million tons is the lowest volume in 20 years,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, adding the previous low was 6.15 million tons in 2000.
From January to June, Thailand exported 3.14 million tons of rice, about a third less than the same period last year, the association’s data showed, less than India’s 4.53 million tons and the 4.04 million tons shipped by Vietnam.
Meanwhile, lower global purchasing power has seen Thai white rice lose out to cheaper grades offered by Vietnam in key Asian markets like the Philippines.
China, once a Thai rice importer, has also beat Thailand in key African markets with cheaper prices.