Thailand and Vietnam battle it out for rice export ranking


Thailand and Vietnam are racing for second place as the world’s top rice exporter this year, as India, although still in first place, could see a significant drop in rice exports year on year due to internal policies, the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) said on Tuesday.

Statistics for the first quarter of 2024 revealed that India had exported the most rice at 4.3 million tonnes, a drop of 28.1% year on year, said TREA.

In second place was Thailand with 2.46 million tonnes (19.4% increase YOY), followed by Vietnam with 2.18 million tonnes (17.7% increase YOY), Pakistan with 1.98 million tonnes (68.5% increase YOY), and the United States with 800,000 tonnes (90.5% increase YOY).

India’s rice exports for the rest of the year could see further contraction as the government reportedly plans to impose more restrictions on exports to curb rising domestic prices, said TREA, quoting reports by local Indian media

According to Mint, the average retail price of rice on the domestic market has jumped 13.1% year on year, prompting the government to increase measures to help domestic consumers amidst the general election, the results of which will be announced in June.

Analysts believe that India’s export restriction on white rice and steam rice, currently capped at 25% and 15% of domestic output respectively, could be further reduced to 5% to ensure adequate stock available for domestic consumption.

TREA reported that Thailand’s rice export in Q1 this year fetched 56.73 billion baht, a rise of 49% year on year.

The association estimated rice exports in April at around 800,000 tonnes, most of which will come from contracted purchases of white rice from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Japan.

Hom Mali or jasmine rice, meanwhile, is seeing more demand from the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and some countries in Europe, TREA said, added that Thai rice has become more attractive in the global markets thanks to weakening baht, although prices are still slightly higher than its competitors.

As of April 30, the price of 5% white rice from Thailand stood at US$599 per tonne, versus Vietnam ($583) and Pakistan ($582).

Thai steam rice is priced at $602 per tonnes, while India rice is at $541 and Pakistan’s at $605 per tonne.