New bids eat at inedible rice stockpile

New bids eat at inedible rice stockpile

Around 2.1 million tonnes of inedible rice stored by the state were expected to be sold in the latest bidding held yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce, leaving only a small amount of poor quality grade grain in the government stockpile to be put on sale next month.

Keerati Rushchano, deputy director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Foreign Trade, said local traders had offered to buy around 2.1 million tonnes of inedible grade milled rice, or around 95%, of a total 2.2 million tonnes the ministry put up in the bidding.

Offer prices ranged between 2,000-6,700 baht per tonne and depended mostly on how poor the quality of the rice was. However, the offer prices were well above offers in the previous bid of around 4,000 baht a tonne, he said.

The government is expected to collect about 76 billion baht from the latest round, Mr Keerati said.

The rice to be sold in this round of bidding was from 137 warehouses in 37 provinces. It was mostly 5% broken grade white rice that would be suitable for animal feed, he said.

The Commerce Ministry will spend a week submitting all the offers for approval by the Rice Policy and Management Committee.

If the committee approves the sale, there will be a last lot of around 500,000 tonnes of inedible grade left in the state stockpile waiting to be sold in the next bidding round, expected to take place next month, Mr Keerati said.

However, the quality of the rice is very poor and could only be suitable for ethanol derived feed stuff, he said.

There is also around 160,000 tonnes of edible grade rice due to be sold via another auction, expected in August, he said.

Since the current government took power in May 2014, it has managed to sell a total of 13.9 million tonnes of rice from state stockpiles, raising 130 billion baht and helping reduce pressure on market prices, making the price of Thai rice higher.

The benchmark 100% B grade Thai white rice is now priced at US$450 per tonne, up from $380 a tonne last month, according to exporters.

Fresh demand from major rice importing countries also helped boost Thai rice prices since the Philippines, one of the world's leading rice buyers, planned to open bids to buy a total 250,000 tonnes of white rice grades next week to replenish its national rice stocks.

Bangladesh has offered to buy 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Thailand after being hit by drought and recent natural disasters.

"High-ranking Bangladeshi officials are scheduled to come here and negotiate with the government next week," Mr Keerati said.

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