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May 2024

Malaysia Caps Retail Rice Sales, Conducts Checks as Prices Soar

(Bloomberg) — Malaysia will limit retail purchases and boost enforcement to prevent locally produced rice being sold as the more expensive imported grain, as the fallout from India’s export curbs continuing to upend the market.

Purchases will be capped at 100 kilograms per person effective immediately until supply concerns ease, Paddy and Rice Regulatory Director General Azman Mahmood said. He made the remarks after a government-convened meeting with farmers and the state importer to discuss supply security.

“Almost every day I receive complaints from people about their difficulty in getting local white rice,” Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu said in a speech to the meeting, according to a transcript. “This issue is being looked into seriously by the ministry to ensure supplies are sufficient.”

Export restrictions by top shipper India have sent shock-waves across Asia and Africa, prompting worried consumers to implement measures to secure supply and contain rising food costs. Malaysia started checks on wholesalers and commercial millers last month after allegations that local grain was being sold as imported rice at higher prices, according to Sabu.

Malaysia’s stockpiles are currently sufficient and local white rice prices are still among the lowest in Southeast Asia at 2.60 ringgit (56 cents) a kilogram, Sabu said after the meeting. The country, which consumes about 200,000 tons a month, has inventories equivalent to 1.5 months of consumption, he said.

The government has conducted more than 900 enforcement checks since July to ensure the supply stability of local white rice, Sabu said.

Padiberas Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state trading enterprise known as Bernas, last week announced a 36% price hike for all imported white rice. The country buys about a third of its supply from overseas, mainly from India, Thailand, Pakistan and Vietnam. QR Code

Published Date: September 7, 2023

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