Thai rice exports still untouched by Russia-Ukraine war, says association

  • The Thai Rice Exporters Association said recently that the Russia-Ukraine war has not shaken rice exports yet, though rising oil prices may affect the situation in the long run.

    Chookiat Ophaswongse, the association’s honorary president, said Thailand exported some 6,000 tonnes of rice to Russia and about 2,000 tonnes to Ukraine last year.
    However, he said, the situation may change because wheat exports from Russia have been banned, which may result in pushing up the price of rice and other grains. This may impact orders from potential buyers. Chookiat added that the sea route from Thailand to key markets in Europe, especially France, and Africa have not been affected because it does not pass Russia or Ukraine. However, the cost of shipping may spike if the price of oil rises above US$100 per barrel. Then, he said, countries may choose to purchase rice from countries that are closer and cheaper than Thailand. Yet, he said, Thailand may still achieve the goal of exporting 7 million tonnes of rice this year thanks to the Middle East, where each country exports at least 1 million tonnes of rice every year. Though the Middle East market had slowed down, it began picking up again from the end of 2021. Meanwhile, Pitak Udomwichaiwat, director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade (DFT), said the department is adjusting its publicity strategy for rice in line with the current situation. It is planning to launch online campaigns to raise awareness about Thai rice and boost its popularity. DFT plans to focus on strengthening trade ties with China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Apart from holding virtual meetings with potential buyers, the department will also look for ways to deal with Vietnam – Thailand’s No 1 competitor in rice exports. He added that Thailand’s export sector should do well this year because the container shortage problem is easing, though the cost of shipping is still high. Plus, he said, the price of Thai rice is still competitive thanks to the exchange rate and will remain so if the currency does not get stronger. DFT is planning to join international exhibitions and is eyeing the Saudi Arabian market. It has asked Thai diplomats to survey the demand and develop links with key rice exporters in Saudi Arabia. Pitak said once the Covid-19 situation eases, DFT will take Thai exporters to negotiate deals. As for government-to-government deals, DFT is waiting to sign a memorandum of understanding with Iraq even though the private sector is already exporting rice to the country.
  • Thai rice prices forecast to rise 5% in Q2

  • Thai rice prices are expected to increase by 5% in the second quarter, pushed up by the war in Ukraine's effect on surging global commodity prices, says veteran trader Chookiat Ophaswongse. Mr Chookiat, an honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said there was growing concern about a wheat shortage as Russia and Ukraine are the main producers of the crop, while rising oil prices are likely to drive up overall commodity prices. "Thai rice is expected to see just a 5% increase in prices in the second quarter because there are relatively high rice stocks in India, while rice production is expected to increase this year both in Vietnam and Thailand," said Mr Chookiat. The 5% white rice price in the domestic market is now quoted at 12 baht per kilogramme, down from 16 baht per kg in the same period last year. The free-on-board price of 5% Thai white rice is quoted at US$400 a tonne, higher than Indian white rice, which stands at $355 a tonne, and Vietnam's similar grains at $390 per tonne. For the 2021/2022 harvest season, the association expects Thailand's rice production to increase to 30-32 million tonnes of paddy rice, or 20 million of milled rice, up from 27-28 million tonnes of paddy rice, or 17 million tonnes of milled rice, in the 2020/2021 season. Widespread drought is unlikely this year, said the association, as happened two years ago. Given the ample water supply, second-crop rice production is also expected to increase. He said the war is unlikely to affect Thailand's overall rice exports because shipments to Russia and Ukraine stood at only 6,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes, respectively, last year. "It is fortunate export markets in the Middle East, such as Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, will be back this year," Mr Chookiat said. "These countries are net rice importers with a combined million tonnes each year." Thailand shipped 6.11 million tonnes of rice last year, up 6.68% from 5.73 million tonnes in 2020, with exports valued at 108 billion baht, down by 7.14% from 116 billion baht in 2020. The 2021 shipments comprised 2.35 million tonnes of white rice (up 18.9%), 1.4 million tonnes of Thai hom mali rice (down 1.7%), 1.4 million tonnes of parboiled rice (up 1.6%), 550,574 tonnes of aromatic rice (down 4.1%), and 310,878 tonnes of glutinous rice (up 12.4%). The association projects exports rising 14.8% this year to 7 million tonnes, driven by ample water supply. Higher demand is likely thanks to a global economic recovery and a favourable exchange rate.
  • Asia rice: Thai rates slip on weak baht; India’s demand

  • BENGALURU/HANOI/ BANGKOK/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Rice export prices in Thailand fell to an over 1-1/2 month low this week due to a weaker baht, while an uptick in overseas buying boosted rates in leading exporter India. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $400 per tonne this week, down from $410-$420 a week ago. The baht weakened to 32.68 against the US dollar on Thursday, or by nearly 1.6% from a week ago and 1.3% from Wednesday, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Prices eased in line with the baht weakening, which is an effect of Russia’s invasion,” a Bangkok-based trader said, adding that domestic rice prices still remained stable. India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $370 to $376 per tonne this week, up from the last week’s $368 to $374. “Despite the depreciation in rupee, exports prices are moving higher. Demand is good from African and Asian buyers,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Indian farmers are likely to harvest a record 127.93 million tonnes of rice against 124.37 million tonnes produced the year before. In neighbouring Bangladesh, domestic rice prices stayed elevated despite good crops and reserves, officials said. The country’s rice stock at government warehouses surged to 1.7 million tonnes this month, according to the data from the food ministry. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $395-$400 per tonne, compared with $400 per tonne a week ago. “Importers are buying moderately, waiting for prices to fall when the winter-spring harvest peaks,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City. “Exports will increase from next month, with the key markets being the Philippines and Africa,” the trader said. Preliminary shipping data showed 219,000 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in February, with most of the rice heading to the Philippines.
  • New Thai rice varieties lined up to boost exports

  •                   Thailand plans to develop 12 new commercial rice varieties by 2024 to boost rice export competitiveness. Speaking after an award ceremony for new commercial rice varieties, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry set up a war room to accelerate Thai rice development and increase exports, for both existing and new markets. Of the 12 new varieties, Mr Jurin said four are hard-texture grains, four are soft texture, two are Thai fragrant rice and two are high-nutrition types. These varieties are in high demand among global consumers, he said.
  • First Thai rice shipment delivered using Laos-China railway

  • A first shipment 1,000 tonnes of Thai rice has been delivered using the Lao-Chinese railway to Chongqing, marking a new chapter in exports to China, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry announced on Thursday. Exports of other farm products using the new rail link would follow, Alongkorn Polabutr, adviser to the agriculture minister, said. He said the initial shipment of rice was carried in 20 carriages and had already reached Chongqing. More would follow. The railway, which commenced service early last month, opened the possibility of extending export routes to other Chinese provinces and farther, to Central Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Europe. The government was looking into exporting fruit, orchids, rubber, cassava, palm oil and fishery and livestock products on the new railway, Mr Alongkorn said. Thai fruit could reach Chongqing in 1-2 days, retaining freshness thanks to the railway. This would enable expansion to markets in China, he said.
  • GI Rice Distinctively Unique

  • Thailand’s geographical features - soil, air and water - help cultivate produce with inherent characteristics. Thai rice with a geographic indication (GI) is unique in its flavour and other amazing attributes.

    There are currently nine strains of Thai GI rice. 1. Kam Rice of Lanna Cancer-preventing, nutritious black-grain glutinous rice. 2. Luem Phua Rice of Phetchabun  Fragrant, tender, delicious and nutritious black-grain rice. 3. Jek Choei Rice of Sao Hai Fluffy, shape-retaining rice that doesn’t spoil easily 4. Pathiu Yellow Rice of Chumphon Quick to cook, fluffy and shape-retaining long-grain rice. Perfect for street food. 5. Sang Yod Rice of Phatthalung Red-tinted long-grain rice with a chewy texture and a mild fragrance. Rich in antioxidants. 6. Thung Kula Rong Hai Hom Mali Rice Thailand’s best Hom Mali long-grain white rice. Deliciously supple and aromatic. 7. Surin Hom Mali Rice Long-grain white rice with a glossy exterior. Pleasantly soft and moist when cooked. 8. Hang Hom Sakonthawapi Rice Slender-grain golden brown rice. Highly nutritious. 9. Khao Wong Glutinous Rice of Kalasin Soft but not mushy, this fragrant glutinous rice remains palatably tender for a long time. Think Rice , Think Thailand
  • Hundreds Show Support for Former Thai PM as Rice Scheme Trial Nears an End

  • Hundreds Show Support for Former Thai PM as Rice Scheme Trial Nears an End

    Reuters

    Ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court for a trial on criminal negligence, which looks into her role in a debt-ridden rice subsidy scheme during her administration, in Bangkok, Thailand July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom REUTERS

     
    By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Aukkarapon Niyomyat
    BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrived at a Bangkok court to shouts of encouragement from her supporters on Friday, two weeks before the final stages of a case about her involvement in a ruinously expensive state rice subsidy scheme.
    Yingluck, whose government was ousted in a 2014 military coup, faces up to 10 years in prison if she is found guilty of negligence over her role in the scheme, which proved popular with rural voters but was a disaster for state coffers.
    The former prime minister and opposition say the trial is politically motivated and is aimed at undermining the populist movement that has won every election since 2001. The movement is opposed by Thailand's powerful military and conservative elite.
    Around 500 supporters showed up outside the court on Friday, police said, the largest turnout in many months. One wrote "Love the prime minister" on his hand, while others shouted: "fight, fight". Yingluck has denied the charges against her.
     
    The military has said it will deploy troops to maintain security on July 21, when a final hearing in the case is expected.
    Yingluck's critics see the rice case as a litmus test of the junta's sincerity in tackling corruption in politics, one of its promises after it seized power in 2014.
    Closing statements in the case will be delivered within 30 days of the final hearing, court officials said.
    "I'm confident in the witnesses we've presented," Yingluck told crowds outside the court.
    "The encouragement I've been given is still good ... this is a strong characteristic of the Thai people," she said.
    STREET PROTESTS
    Successive Thai governments have supported farmers since the 1980s, but none of the schemes has proved as popular with rural voters as the rice programs pioneered by Yingluck's brother, ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
     
    Yingluck's government went a step further, promising to buy rice from farmers at some 50 percent above the market price.
    The scheme helped her to sail to victory in a 2011 general election, making her the country's first female prime minister.
    However, public losses from the scheme fueled street protests against Yingluck that eventually saw her removed from power just weeks before the 2014 coup.
    The scheme also saw Thailand lose its crown as the world's top rice exporter as other countries, notably Vietnam and India, filled the void when Thailand held back rice stocks it had bought from farmers.
    The military government has managed to sell off most of about 18 million tonnes of rice accumulated during the rice scheme, some of it for industrial purposes, according to the commerce ministry.
    Yingluck said on Friday she was not sure when she would deliver her closing statement.
    (Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Paul Tait)
  • Thailand’s government approves rice insurance scheme

  • Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s rice insurance scheme for this year’s first crop began on July 3 after it was approved by the cabinet last week. The programme, worth 2 billion THB (around 58.84 million USD), will be run by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). It is expected to be applied on 25-30 million rai (40.000- 48.000 square kilometres) of rice farmland and cover insurance for natural disasters, including floods, droughts, storms, cold, hail and fires. Farmers will receive compensation of 1,260 THB (37.07 USD) a rai (equivalent to 1,600 square metres) this year, up from 1,111 THB (32.69 USD) per rai offered in 2016, in case of crops damage by natural disasters and 630 THB (18.53 USD) a rai in the event of pests and diseases, up from last year’s 555 THB (16.33 USD). [Thailand announces new loan schemes for rice farmers] This year’s insurance premium is scheduled at 97.37 THB (2.86 USD) per rai, down from 107.42 THB (3.16 USD) per rai last year for farmers with less than 25 million rai and 108.07 THB (3.18 USD) per rai for those with more than 25 million rai. The government is expected to pay 61.37 THB (1.81 USD) a rai in compensation this year. The insurance scheme is planned to run from June to August 31 for farmers living in different parts of the country, except for the southern provinces, where it will last until December 15. Data released by the Office of Agricultural Economics shows Thailand has 58.7 million rai (93.920 square kilometers) of rice fields in total. The Ministry of Finance is studying whether to expand the insurance programme to cover off-season rice and corn.-VNA
  • Thailand Rice Convention kicks off in Bangkok

  • THAILAND-BANGKOK-RICE CONVENTION
    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha addresses the opening ceremony of Thailand Rice Convention 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand, May 29, 2017. Beginning on Monday, the three-day event aims to set the stage for world rice consumers and producers to brainstorm about new visions for sustainable industrial development. (Xinhua/Thai Government House)   Read more