The Nation


Rice Export

Govt targets rice exports of 8m tonnes next year

THE COMMERCE Ministry targets rice exports of at least 8 million tonnes next year, making Thailand once again the world's top rice exporter.

The Foreign Trade Department predicts that with the ministry's huge stockpiles and the currently competitive price of Thai rice, shipments should increase in 2014.

For this year, the department projects that rice exports will reach 6.68 million tonnes, worth US$4.38 billion. This would represent a drop by 3.9 per cent in volume from 2012, and a decrease by 7.9 per cent in terms of value.

As of December 16, rice exports were down by 3.7 per cent year on year to 6.4 million tonnes, for a 7.4-per-cent drop in value to $4.2 billion (Bt138 billion).

The department says that if the country sells 8 million tonnes of rice in 2014, it will earn up to $4.8 billion, up 19.8 per cent in volume and 9.4 per cent in value.

"Rice exports should increase continuously next year as many countries have looked at purchasing more from Thailand, which is known for the high quality of its rice. The falling of its price to around that of Vietnamese rice should also encourage more traders to purchase Thai rice," department director-general Surasak Riangkrul said.

Africa, Middle East

He said the department would try hard next year to sell more rice in many markets, focusing on Africa and the Middle East.

Despite the current administrative vacuum caused by the dissolution of Parliament pending a snap election, the department will try to release rice from the government stockpiles through various methods. It plans to continue to sell rice under government-to-government contracts, hold general auctions for both domestic traders and exporters, and use the futures market.

The department is also waiting for the Election Commission to decide whether to allow it to sign new rice-sale contracts during the caretaker government.

Surasak expects about 60 per cent of the rice exported next year would be shipped under G2G contracts.

The department also reported that export of tapioca products reached 7.6 million tonnes in the first 10 months of this year, an increase by 11.17 per cent in volume. Shipment value was $2.55 billion, up by 10.94 per cent year on year.

Surasak said that as implementation of the Asean Economic Community nears, cross-border trade was projected to reach Bt1.05 trillion next year, up by 16 per cent.

In the first 10 months of this year, cross-border trading was up slightly, 0.48 per cent year on year, to Bt762.77 billion. Exports dropped 1.13 per cent to Bt462 billion, while imports increased 3.05 per cent to Bt161.24 billion.

Malaysia is Thailand's largest cross-border trading partner, accounting for 54.6 per cent, followed by Myanmar at 21.1 per cent, Laos at 14.24 per cent, and Cambodia at 10.07 per cent.

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