FOUR Thai exporters have won contracts to supply 212,500 tonnes of rice to the Philippines in a sales coup that makes up 85 per cent of that country’s imports of that rice type in the latest round of government to government (G2G) bidding.
Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said the Philippines’ National Food Agency (NFA) had invited bidding on 250,000 tonnes of the variety – white rice graded at 25 per cent. The balance of the rice will be provided by Singapore as a result of the city state’s trading in the commodity.
Delivery of the rice is scheduled for July and August. The four export deals follow the country’s success in winning a bid from the Philippine food agency for 120,000 tonnes of the same grade of rice on the G2G basis. Delivery from that deal is for this month and June.
The latest round of bidding success will help boost Thai export and maintain the country’s share of the rice market in the Philippines, which is the world’s biggest rice importer, the Ministry of Commerce said.
It would also help to stabilise prices for Thai rice.
By May 22, rice exports this year totalled 4.276 million tonnes, up 2.64 per cent year on year – by 4.166 million tonnes. By value, the gain was 23.26 per cent, to US$2.182 billion.
The main destinations for Thai rice are China, South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines.
This year, shipments of rice are expected to achieve the sales target of 10 million tonnes.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of Department of Foreign Trade (DFT), said the global prices for rice are expected to remain high - especially for the Hom Mali variety - in the third quarter of this year.
Hom Mali rice is trading at around US$1,225 per tonne, compared with $1,300 per tonne in 2008. White rice of 5 per cent grade is priced at $451 per tonne.
Demand for rice remains high in several countries, including Indonesia, Adul said. Earlier, Indonesia purchased 1.3 million tonnes of Thai rice and is expected to buy more, given that an election next year is likely to stoke demand for rice.
For an upcoming sale of 43,700 tonnes of rice for the home market, the bids submitted will be presented to a government subcommittee on Monday for consideration before they are forwarded to the National Rice Policy Committee. Nine producers placed bids.
An anonymous source from the DFT said that the department planned to meet exporters, rice traders and rice millers to devise a management plan for off-season rice in 2018 and in-season rice in the 2018-19 production year. This would see the rice reach the market in September and October this year. Neighbouring countries such as Cambodia have had low export prices.
“The rice industry has been concerned over high the high levels production, with the adequate water available for rice fields and this year being the 10th in the Thai rice cycle when price prices usually peak, as in 2008-09,” the source said.