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Thai rice exports get a boost from global Covid-19 scare

Mar 14. 2020
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By THE NATION

The Covid-19 situation has led to many countries stocking up on food supplies, boosting orders for Thai rice, Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said.

“These importers want our exporters to be ready to deliver 100 per cent of the order quantity immediately,” he said. “Previously, the importers preferred delivery of 50 per cent of the order, such as 50 per cent in March and the rest in April.”

The spurt in demand has been a boon for rice producing countries, and also increased the rice price in the global market.

White rice 5 per cent exported by Myanmar is currently selling at $400 per tonne, up from the previous range of $330 to $340 per tonne.

Meanwhile, the price of rice exported from Thailand rose from $410 per tonne to $450 to $460 per tonne.

Due to the recent rise in demand, Thailand’s rice exports in February were estimated at 630,000 tonnes.

“The growth of rice exports at this time depends on the Covid-19 situation. If the situation recovers, the rice orders will decrease,” the president said.

“Another related factor is export of rice by China,” he added. “The country would suspend its exports to reserve stocks for its own food security.”

Overall Thailand’s rice exports this year would be near the targeted 7.5 million tonnes, he said.

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