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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     21 October  2011

High prices impact Indo rice imports

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High prices may lead to a 30 percent cut in rice shipments from top exporter Thailand next year and No. 2 seller Vietnam may be unable to increase its export volumes as buyers turn to cheaper rice from India, traders and industry officials said.

India, the world's second-biggest producer, eased curbs on exports last month and its grain is around $100 a ton cheaper than Thai and Vietnamese rice, they said at a rice conference in Vietnam.

Exports from Thailand in 2012 could fall to 7.0 million-7.5 million tons from 10 million tons projected for this year, as export prices have been pushed up by a government intervention scheme and floods, said Korbsook Iamsuri, President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

Vietnam's rice exports next year are forecast at around 7 million tons, little changed from an expected record high level this year, traders said, as its high prices have prevented it from grabbing more market share from Thailand.

Vietnam slightly lowered on Thursday its rice export forecast for this year to just above 7 million tonnes from an initial estimate of up to 7.5 million tons, although the agriculture ministry said floods had not affected production.

"Vietnam cannot compete with India in supplying parboiled rice," a Vietnamese exporter said on the conference sidelines. An executive from a rice export firm in Vietnam said he expected buyers, especially from Southeast Asia, to return in a month's time.

Importers said they were not in a hurry to seal deals in the current high-priced climate.

Mohammad Ismet, adviser with Indonesian state procurement agency Bulog, said the country could source from Vietnam, India, Pakistan, or even Cambodia, if its proposed deal with Thailand for 300,000 tons of Thai rice agreed under the previous Thai administration was not renewed.

He said Indonesia has not received a final reply from the Thai government on the matter. Indonesia is expected to produce 68.06 million tons of paddy this year, up 2.4 percent from last year, Ismet told the conference.

"We are doing the domestic procurement and import simultaneously, so we have not decided the import volume yet," he said when asked about the import plan for 2012.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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