Thailand on top again as a rice exporter
The Thai Rice Exporters Association has claimed that Thailand is once again the world’s leading exporter or rice. The president of the Association said that between January and the end of May, Thailand had exported almost four million tons of rice, edging out India and well ahead of Vietnam.
On the negative side of the export equation, the Association president noted that Thai rice had averaged only $390 per ton, or around 12,000 baht per ton, during this period.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, the honorary president of the Association, said he believed Thailand would be able to retain its top rice export status for all 2014. He suggested this was because Thai rice prices were lower than that of its main competitors India and Vietnam. India was selling its rice US$420-430 per ton while Vietnam was asking around US$400 per ton.
With the debilitating effects of the El Nino weather pattern expected to impact worldwide this year the demand for Thai rice should remain high said the honorary president. A key market will certainly be China. The world’s largest nation by population is now a net importer of rice, with an annualized requirement approaching 10 million tons. Thailand is certainly keen to snap up as much of that market as possible.
He did add a word of caution regarding the price that could be commanded or Thai rice, saying it may only be able to rise by between US$10-20 (300-600 baht approx.) this year since the nation possessed a huge stockpile of around 10 million tons.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has forecast the volume of the global rice trade will amount to 40.79 million tons of paddy during 2014. This indicates a rise of 4.64 percent year-on-year.
The United States has predicts Thailand will probably fall short of being the number one exporter, but will instead rank in second position behind India. The Department of Agriculture has been quoted as suggesting Thailand will sell around nine million tons of rice this year, which will be second to India’s expected 10 million tons (or 25 percent of the entire global trade). Vietnam will cement third position at around 6.5 million tons.
In monetary terms, Thailand says it expects its rice sales will accrue US$4.75 billion, or 150 billion baht, in 2014.
India became the world’s leading exporter for the first time in 2011-2012, displacing Thailand. According to USDA figures (obtained via http://oryza.com), in the 2011-2012 season India exported just over 10 million tons of rice, Vietnam moved to second place with just under eight million tons, and Thailand dropped to third with just under seven million tons.
In the 2012-2013 season, India once again led the way, with almost 11 million tons while Vietnam dropped to seven million tons and Thailand also fell away, to less than seven million tons.
The USDA has estimated that the 2013-2014 period will see India, as mentioned above, retain its top ranking, but with 10 million tons. Thailand, after two seasons in third position, will approach nine million tons, well and truly its highest exported numbers for three years. Vietnam will also export a higher figure than last season.
In the early part of June this year, Thailand’s rice price per ton was lower, at US$385 per ton on average, than its main competitors India (US$440 per ton) and Vietnam (US$410 per ton). Even Cambodia and Pakistan were much higher than Thailand, at US$440 and US$445 per ton respectively.
Internally, the military government has made sure that all outstanding payments due to rice producers were met before 22 June. It also announced a cultivation subsidy of around 3,125 baht per hectare and soft loans in an effort to help farmers through the 2014-2015 season.