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February 15, 2009

Thailand to ask Vietnam to help stabilise rice prices
Thailand's Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot is scheduled to leave for Vietnam on Sunday for a three-day visit to find ways to keep rice prices stabilised.

Thai News Agency reported that Thai rice exporters and farmers' representatives will accompany Alongkorn during the visit which is also aimed at strengthening relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Both countries now export more than 50 per cent of the total global rice demand, or approximately 15 million tonnes.

But rice prices on the world market moved with considerable volatility last year, and the average price this year stands at between $600-700 per tonne. Vietnamese rice stands at the average price of $400 per tonne which is almost similar to Thai rice.

The Thai Commerce Ministry believes that the appropriate price for rice should be at about $700 per tonne, which could also help support higher domestic prices in the two countries and benefit farmers.

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