Optimism for rice export forecast maintained
Big government deal with the Philippines
Despite September's export slump, the government remains upbeat about achieving 11 million tonnes of milled rice exports this year on high demand.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said rice export prospects are still promising for the last quarter, with continued import orders, particularly with government-to-government (G2G) deals with China, the Philippines and Japan.
The department reported from Jan 1 to Oct 19, 2018, rice exports totalled 8.93 million tonnes, a rise of 2.71% from the same period last year, with export values amounting to US$4.61 billion, up by 21.2%.
Late last month China agreed to buy 100,000 tonnes of newly harvested 5% white rice from Thailand under a G2G contract, due to be delivered in late September and October.
Mr Adul said Thailand is also highly likely to win a share of the planned rice purchase from the Philippines.
On Sept 25, the Philippines' National Food Authority Council (NFAC) approved the purchase of an additional 500,000 tonnes of imported rice, on top of the 250,000 tonnes it approved on Sept 4.
The NFAC oversees the guidelines for rice imports undertaken by the government.
The 500,000 tonnes are scheduled to arrive in the Philippines before the end of the year. The additional volume will bring total import orders from the NFAC in the fourth quarter to 750,000 tonnes.
Manila is racing to fill state warehouses with imported rice to cut the retail price of the staple and discourage traders from hoarding.
Demand from Japan is also projected to rise.
Japanese authorities have called rice bids on a continuous basis between July and October this year and agreed to purchase a total of 87,000 tonnes of Thai rice, making up 60% of the total purchases, said Mr Adul.
Earlier, a group of rice exporters also predicted rice exports this year will reach 11 million tonnes, helped by robust purchase demand. White rice and parboiled rice have made up the majority of this year's rice shipments.
For this year's shipments, hom mali and other fragrant rice varieties are expected to represent 2.5 million tonnes, with parboiled rice making up 2.8 million tonnes, glutinous rice 200,000 tonnes and white rice the rest.
Charoen Laothammatas, president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, said export prospects for next year also remain promising, predicting shipments will stay at 10 million tonnes in 2019.
Of the total, 2.5 million tonnes are expected to be Thai fragrant rice, 2.5 million tonnes of parboiled rice and 5 million tonnes white rice and glutinous rice.