The prospects of Thai rice exports in the forthcoming year will hinge significantly on the Thai government’s export promotion policies and India’s export performance, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Korbsook Iamsuri, the President of the Association, highlighted that exports to African markets have seen a sharp decline, plunging by a staggering 70-80% from the customary 3 million tonnes annually. This downturn is attributed in part to the stiff competition from Indian rice, which boasts a competitive edge with prices ranging from US$150-170 lower per tonne.
Furthermore, Thai rice exports to Indonesia, Iraq, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, along with government-to-government transactions, are grappling with hurdles owing to the comparatively higher prices of Thai rice.
Iamsuri elaborated, “Thai white and parboiled rice exports remain robust at $590-600 per tonne. However, this price is not reflective of the mortgage price; rather, it pertains to the rice stockpiled by exporters and millers.”
The Thai government’s mortgage scheme compensates farmers 15,000 baht per tonne for unprocessed white rice and 20,000 baht per tonne for Hom Mali rice.
The current market price for white paddy rice, with 15% moisture content, oscillates between 10,000 and 12,000 baht per tonne. Conversely, Hom Mali paddy, also with 15% moisture content, ranges from 15,500 to 17,000 baht, as reported by the Thai Rice Mills Association.
On an optimistic note, Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol disclosed that 5-7 countries have demonstrated keen interest in procuring millions of tonnes of rice from Thailand through government-to-government barter contracts. Consequently, the government is in the process of evaluating which trading method would be most advantageous for the nation.
As of now, the government has yet to decide whether to disperse the remaining 2 million tonnes of rice from its reserves or to release newly harvested rice.
The Foreign Trade Department is set to engage in discussions with neighboring rice-exporting countries in the near future, aiming to explore the feasibility of establishing standardized sales prices to bolster price stability in the long term.
Ms. Korbsook asserted that Thailand will persist in exporting Thai Hom Mali rice due to its distinct characteristics. However, the export volume is anticipated to plateau at approximately 2 million tonnes annually, with primary destinations being Hong Kong, the United States, and China.
She further commented, “The market price of Thai Hom Mali rice stands at $1,200 per tonne, though some exporters are offering it at a slightly reduced price of $1,000.”
As of November 15th, Thai rice exports had reached 9.89 million tonnes, marking a 32.64% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, as per the Association’s records.