Thailand’s rice exports expected to drop 14.4% amid global competition

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A projected drop of 14.4% in Thailand’s rice exports is anticipated for this year, due to a combination of reduced production and increased global competition, as reported by the Foreign Trade Department. The department’s director-general, Ronnarong Phoolpipat, revealed that the estimate of 7.5 million tonnes of rice exports this year was jointly made with the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

This forecast takes into account several influences such as the expected 5.87% decrease in rice production year-on-year, attributable to the El Niño weather conditions. Additionally, the global rice market is set to become more competitive due to heightened production rates.

Ronnarong Phoolpipat also indicated a potential decline in import demand from trade partners, as rice consumption trends are decreasing in China, Japan and Malaysia. This might lead to intense price competition. There are also suggestions that Indonesia may import less rice this year due to substantial stocks remaining from 2023.

Simultaneously, China is ramping up its rice production, transitioning from being a significant rice importer to a self-reliant producer. This shift could potentially affect Thailand’s future rice exports.

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Furthermore, signs indicate that India could end its suspension on white rice exports, enabling private entities to reinitiate regular rice exports.

Rice exports for the past year were reported to have reached 8.76 million tonnes, surpassing the target of 8 million tonnes and generating a revenue of 178 billion baht (approximately US$5.14 billion). The export quantity and value experienced an increase of 13.6% and 28.4% respectively from the previous year, reported Bangkok Post.

Rice exports

From the period of January 1-30, rice exports recorded 1.12 million tonnes, marking a 44% increase from the same period the previous year.

The department is prepared to collaborate closely with relevant governmental and private sector entities, including the Thai Rice Exporters Association, to stimulate and enhance rice exports. Notable initiatives planned for this year include the Thailand Rice Convention (TRC) 2024 in May. The international conference is set to bring together global rice trade experts to share information on the global market situation and conduct business negotiations.

Mobile TRC roadshows are projected to provide on-site information on global market trends to rice farmers, encouraging them to align their rice production more closely with market demands.

The department also plans to consolidate relationships and expand the rice market in key markets, such as South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, which are deemed crucial markets for Thailand.

The department aims to expedite negotiations with Indonesia and China as well as other countries to sell Thai rice under government-to-government agreements. It also plans to participate in various trade shows and organise the Thai Rice Roadshow to promote Thai rice in the Chinese market.

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