Rice-clearing auction draws big crowd 

Economy February 17, 2017 01:00

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The Nation

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Sixty-six rice traders participated in the government’s auction of 2.86 million tonnes of rice yesterday, showing high market demand for the last lot of rice suitable for consumption from the government’s stocks.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department, said traders had shown strong interest in buying rice from the government’s stockpile after the end of harvest season this month.

“The auction should be able to release a large amount of rice from the stockpiles, while the remaining rice suitable for feedmeal and non-food industries such as energy will be opened for bidding in March,” she said.

If the government can release the whole lot of 2.86 million tonnes of rice, there will be only 5.3 million tonnes left, all it of non-consumption quality. As a result, it will reduce pressure on world rice prices, as Thailand will no longer be sitting on a large stockpile.

The bidding results are expected to be finalised next Tuesday, and then proposed for the National Rice Policy Committee’s approval.

If some rice suitable for human consumption remains, the ministry will consider opening another auction, Duangporn said.

In addition, Thailand will ship the next lot of 200,000 tonnes of rice to China under the 1-million-tonne government-to-government contract. Last month, Thailand shipped 100,000 tonnes of rice to China as the first lot under this G2G deal, so the country will have sold a total of 300,000 tonnes worth about Bt4 billion to China in the first two months of this year.

Another 200,000 tonnes of rice will be shipped to China in March and April.

The Commerce Ministry reported that 1.6 million tonnes of rice worth Bt28.6 billion was exported between January 1 and February 14, an increase by 9.9 per cent in volume and 7.4 per cent in value over the same period of 2016.