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April 2024

Shippers project rice exports of up to 8.8m tonnes

Farmers harvest rice in the fields. For the first 10 months this year, Thai rice exports totalled 6.92 million tonnes, valued at 136 billion baht. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

Thai rice exports are forecast at 8.7-8.8 million tonnes this year, driven by high demand from Indonesia.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the total surpasses the previous estimate of 8.5 million tonnes and is up from 7.69 million tonnes tallied last year.

Export values are estimated at 180 billion baht this year, a 23-24% gain from a year before, driven by higher rice prices and increased export volumes in November and December, he said.

Thailand is projected to export nearly 1 million tonnes of rice in November and December as major importers stock up to compensate for reduced domestic rice production and for the year-end period, continuing through to the beginning of 2024, said Mr Chookiat.

Good weather conditions have allowed for swift delivery, preventing delays, he said.

Key buyers include Indonesia, which already purchased 1.3 million tonnes of Thai rice, and the Philippines, which bought about 500,000 tonnes.

Referring to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s recent remark on the sidelines of the Japan-Asean summit that Indonesia is committed to buying a total of 2 million tonnes this year, Mr Chookiat said the additional 1 million tonnes could be accommodated through a memorandum of understanding or government-to-government basis to prepare for potential drought conditions next year.

Indonesia’s state food procurement agency Bulog conducted an auction last Monday to purchase 540,000 tonnes of 5% white rice, of which 200,000 tonnes were bought from Thailand, he said.

Indonesia is estimated to import 3 million tonnes of rice this year, with the majority from Thailand based on competitive prices. Indonesia is projected to import 1-1.5 million tonnes of rice next year, said Mr Chookiat.

For the first 10 months this year, Thai rice exports tallied 6.92 million tonnes, valued at 136 billion baht, according to customs data. QR Code

Published Date: December 19, 2023

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