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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  16 October 2014  

Thailand to regain world’s top rice exporter title

THAILAND is set to regain its position as the top rice exporter in the world in 2015.

Exports next year are estimated at 10.6 million metric tonnes compared with eight million metric tonnes for India, the current top exporter, and Vietnam at 6.9 million metric tonnes.

This is according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in its October issue of the Rice Market Monitor (RMM).

“Thailand has come closer to regaining its position as the foremost rice exporter with 9.6 million metric tonnes predicted by the end of 2014 and next to India’s 10 million metric tonnes,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

Thailand’s rice exports have been affected by a now discontinued subsidy scheme, where the government bought rice from farmers, at well above market prices. It was then unable to sell the rice, resulting in a stockpile mountain.

On the rice stocks, Konuma added it is estimated that Thailand would likely hold 18 million metric tonnes of rice stock by the end-2014 season.

“As for rice imports, China will continue to be the top importer of 2.8 million metric tonnes in 2014, followed by the Philippines (1.8 million) Indonesia (1.2 million) and Malaysia (1.0 million),” Konuma said.

The FAO said 2014 could be the first in five years that global rice production had declined after years of record harvests.

Crop prospects have deteriorated in the past few months, reflecting erratic weather conditions across many regions.

This, together with an El Niño weather anomaly possibly arising soon, have marred the outlook for global rice production in 2014, now anticipated to fall marginally (by 0.4 per cent) to 496.4 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent.

It will mark a third season of below-trend growth for 2014, the RMM revealed.

Major output shortfalls, in absolute terms, are expected in India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

“The huge world reserves would still be sufficient to cover more than a third of the 2015/16 projected world consumption,” Konuma said.

Global rice utilisation is forecast to hover around 500 million tonnes in 2014/15, 1.7 per cent more than in 2013/14, sustaining a marginal increase in per capita consumption to 57.5 kg.

“Many countries have been taking advantage of the lower international prices to rebuild inventories and have been actively buying rice from world markets during the course of 2014,” said Konuma.

Strong demand for rice imports, combined with large supplies in major exporting countries, is expected to sustain a seven per cent increase in the volume of rice transactions in 2014 to a record 39.7 million tonnes.

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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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