US drought 'to lift rice prices'
- Published: 17 Aug 2012 at 11.35
- Online news:
Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, is content to sit on a record stockpile as the worst United States drought in half a century may boost prices, says Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.
Thailand has room to store a further 20 million tonnes of unmilled rice; building on a stockpile of milled grain that the US Department of Agriculture expects will climb to 12.1 million tonnes in 2012 and 2013.
Thailand plans to spend a further 260 billion baht in extending a policy to buy rice from farmers at above-market rates to lift incomes.
"We don't have to hurry" to sell the stockpiles, Mr Boonsong said in an interview on Thursday. "We will wait for the right moment, the right price."
Thailand's rice haul is serving as a buffer against global grain reserves that the International Grain Council says are at the lowest in at least five years as droughts push corn and soybean prices to records. The policy, which is popular with farmers, may threaten the country's position as the top exporter this year as buyers choose supplies from India and Vietnam that are about 30% cheaper.
"People are already making forecasts that the price of rice will go up because of the situation in the US,"
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