Rice exports at record high in 2017

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Rice exports hit an all-time record in 2017, increasing by 14.77% this year to at least 11.25 million tonnes as of Dec 27, the Ministry of Commerce said.

The price per tonne has risen above US$1,000 for popular Jasmin fragrant rice, or hom mali.

Sales revenue showed significant growth of around 15%, or $4.97 billion (168 billion baht). With a few days still remaining in the calendar year, the export volume was already the highest since Thailand began trading rice.

On the global market, the price of Jasmine rice continues to climb steadily, currently standing at $1,040, the highest in the past five years, the ministry statement said.

Staple ‘white rice 5%’ was also doing exceptionally well and competitive, but prices remained quite stable at $403 per metric tonne. 

Honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association Chukiat Opaswong said shipments soared on increased foreign demand and a decrease in global market supply.

“The government’s stock of hom-mali rice for export has already run dry, and our domestic production has dropped from nine to seven million tonnes this year, which caused exporters and rice mills to compete intensely for the remaining supply,” Mr Chukiat said.

“As for the white rice, the price remains stable and less exciting than Jasmine rice because India has recently offloaded their stock at a discount, and its volume is quite overwhelming.”

On Jan 14 the Ministry of Commerce will organise a workshop and seminar for representatives of the rice sector on the future direction and development of the industry, Deputy Commerce Minister Chutima Bunyapraphasara said.

“We will discuss the system as a whole, looking at ways to improve harvesting, production and marketing Thai rice. Next year’s plan to expand the rice industry will give importance to G2G (government-to-government) trading, and fulfilling our contract with China for 600,000 metric tonnes of rice,” Ms Chutima said.

The Ministry of Commerce is planning for a new 1 million tonne contract with China next year, and is ready for negotiations with Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, she said.

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