Rates for Thai grains expected to soften

Rates for Thai grains expected to soften

Mr Chookiat says demand for Thai rice continues to remain robust, notably from Indonesia.
Mr Chookiat says demand for Thai rice continues to remain robust, notably from Indonesia.

The price of Thai rice in the final two months of the year is expected to dip as the new harvest is released, say traders.

However, a favourable exchange rate should keep Thai rice competitive, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

As of Oct 25, the price of Thai 5% white rice was US$586 per tonne, whereas the prices for Vietnam and Pakistan were $643-647 and $563-567 per tonne, respectively.

Thai parboiled rice was quoted at $586 per tonne, while Indian and Pakistani parboiled rice were priced at $508-512 and $536-540 per tonne, respectively.

The association forecast in October the quantity of rice exports would reach about 800,000 tonnes because of a substantial backlog of rice commitments by exporters.

This tally is complemented by significant importers in Asean, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as regular markets in Africa, the Middle East and the US accelerating their import of various types of Thai rice to alleviate shortages in their countries and cope with how a shortage might affect domestic rice prices, said the trade group.

According to the association's data, in September rice exports totalled 807,776 tonnes with a value of 17.2 billion baht, a 26.5% increase in quantity and 48.1% rise in value compared with August, when the quantity was 630,567 tonnes with a value of 13 billion baht.

The increase was attributed to higher exports of parboiled and broken rice, as importers have been accelerating shipments of rice to compensate for reduced stocks in their countries and to secure reserves for upcoming year-end festivities, said the association.

As the global rice market is expected to remain tight because of India's export restrictions that could last until the beginning of 2024, potential rice buyers may purchase more Thai rice, according to the association.

Parboiled rice exports soared by 191% month-on-month in September to 236,120 tonnes, primarily to major markets such as South Africa, Benin and Yemen, said the trade group.

Thai Rice Exporters' Association forecasts that the quantity of rice exports in October will reach about 800,000 tonnes due to a substantial backlog of rice commitments by exporters.

White rice exports decreased by 7.5% to 349,709 tonnes for the period, shipping to primary markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Iraq, Angola, Japan, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Thai hom mali rice exports decreased by 0.4% in September to 107,678 tonnes, shipping mainly to key markets such as the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

According to the Customs Department, during the first nine months of this year, rice exports amounted to 6.08 million tonnes, valued at 118 billion baht (equivalent to $3.44 billion), a 12.3% increase in quantity and a 23.3% increase in value year-on-year, up from 5.41 million tonnes worth 95.4 billion baht (equivalent to $2.79 billion).

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the association, said rice exports may surpass the group's target this year, set at 8.3-8.5 million tonnes.

Demand remains robust, notably from Indonesia, he said.

In addition, Thai rice prices remain competitive compared with Vietnam, as Vietnamese rice is about $50 more expensive per tonne.

For the year ahead, Mr Chookiat expects rice exports may decrease to 7.5 million tonnes as India starts to deliver rice from agreements with the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

These markets are vital for Thai and Vietnamese exports, and India's shipments to them might reduce Thailand's export share, he said.

India is projected to possibly increase rice exports in the latter half of 2024, said Mr Chookiat.

Indian rice is expected to be cheaper than Thai rice by $50 to $60 per tonne.

Moreover, Iraq, a significant buyer of Thai rice, may reduce its purchases from Thailand in the coming year and increase imports from the US because of political reasons, he said.

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