Rice exports down on strong baht

Rice exports down on strong baht

Shipments down 19.6% in first 6 months

Rice exporters on Wednesday lowered their target for the year from 9.5 million tonnes to 9 million, after a sharp fall in first-half shipments due to the strong baht and ample global stockpiles.

Thailand's rice exports from January to June this year fell 19.6% compared with the same period last year, the Thai Rice Exporters Association said.

"With volumes of shipments constantly declining from January, our best performance would be 9 million tonnes," Charoen Laothamatas, president of the exporters group, told reporters.

The new target is about 20% less than the 11.23 million tonnes that Thailand - the world's second-largest rice exporter after India - shipped out in 2018.

The country has been struggling to export rice at a time when the Thai baht, Asia's best performing currency, is trading near its strongest in more than six years.

It has also faced competition from China, the world's biggest rice importer and Thailand's No.3 buyer last year, which has been offloading its own stockpiles.

China nearly doubled its rice exports in the first half of 2019, compared to last year, said Somkiat Makcayathorn, the association's secretary-general.

"China's rice imports are decreasing due to their huge stockples. Now they're exporting more as well," he said.

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