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February 2024

Pakistan seizes rice export opportunities amid India’s restrictions

Pakistan is poised for a historic surge in rice exports until June, attributed to India’s limitations on shipments, diverting buyers toward Islamabad despite the latter’s nearly 16-year high prices.

The robust exports aim to counter tight supplies post-India’s restrictions, reinforcing Pakistan’s vital foreign exchange reserves.

With India, the primary global rice exporter, halting non-basmati white rice exports last year, Pakistan anticipates reaching 5 million metric tons in the 2023/24 fiscal year, an increase from

3.7 million tons the previous year. Optimistic estimates even suggest exports could reach 5.2 million tons, driven by improved production following last year’s flood-induced decline to 5.5 million tons.

Basmati rice exports may surge by 60% to 950,000 tons, while non-basmati exports could rise by 36% to 4.25 million tons. In terms of value, Pakistan’s rice exports may exceed $3 billion, up from $2.1 billion the previous year.

The shift in buyer preference from India to Pakistan has led to gradually rising local prices, despite increased production.

Pakistan’s geographical proximity to Middle East, Europe, and Africa provides a freight advantage over competitors like Vietnam and Thailand in filling the gap left by India. There is an expectation that India may reconsider export restrictions after May’s elections, but Pakistani exporters have already shipped around two-thirds of the annual quantity by May-end.

The record prices received by Pakistani farmers are likely to encourage expanded planting, leading to a larger surplus for exports in the upcoming season, contingent on favorable weather conditions. QR Code

Published Date: January 31, 2024

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