Thailand’s rice exports down in both volume and value in February

Thailand’s rice exports decreased in both volume and value in February 2019 due to high prices as compared to other competitors and its stronger baht. 

Rice bags stocked up at a factory in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Rice bags stocked up at a factory in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Charoen Laothammatas, President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), said the country’s rice shipments totalled 687,560 tonnes in February, down 27.7 percent from the same month of last year, with the export value hitting 11.69 billion baht (over US$368.5 million), down 23.5 percent year on year. 

According to Charoen, Vietnam's rice prices were $40-50 a tonne lower than Thai grains and lured buyers from the Philippines and Malaysia. 

Charoen said that despite the export fall in February, rice exporters still believe shipments will recover in March to 700,000-800,000 tonnes. Thai exporters still maintain huge outstanding purchase orders for white rice and parboiled rice from key African and Asian buyers such as Benin, South Africa, Cameroon, China and the Philippines, which are due to take delivery in March. 

More importantly, import demand for hom mali rice from potential buyers like the US and Canada remains strong. 

Thai rice exporters are still maintaining their forecast for the country's rice export target at 9.5 million tonnes this year, he said, adding that how this year's situation will play out will depend on the drought. 

Thailand exported 11.09 million tonnes of rice last year, down 5 percent from 11.67 million in 2017 but higher than 9.91 million in 2016. Export value rose 8.3 percent last year to $5.61 billion from $5.18 billion in 2017 and $4.40 billion in 2016. Rice export prices averaged $507 per metric tonne last year, up 14.1 percent from 2017.

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