Thai rice exports pick up, will meet 2016 target - commerce ministry

by Reuters
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 06:36 GMT

BANGKOK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Thailand's rice exports have improved and the country is currently on track to meet its 2016 rice export target of 9.5 million tonnes, the commerce ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

As of Nov. 28, Thailand, the world's second-biggest rice exporter, had exported 9.18 million tonnes, up 8.7 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said. The exports were worth around $4.16 billion, up 3.55 percent from last year.

"Thailand's rice export situation has begun to improve overall," Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the ministry's Foreign Trade Department, said in the statement. "With positive factors, it is conceivable that in 2016 Thailand will meet its 9.5 million tonnes rice export target."

Factors boosting the likelihood that exports will make the target include competitive pricing, higher rice quality, and a seasonal increase in the rice export volumes that typically occurs in the last quarter of the year, the official said.

The Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> price dropped to $342 a tonne on Nov. 16, its lowest in 13 months, because of low foreign demand. It has since improved and was quoted at $350-$360 per tonne on Tuesday.

Thailand's ruling junta has rolled out a series of rescue packages for rice farmers in recent weeks amid low grain prices.

Rice farming employs millions of people and the agricultural sector accounts for 8 percent of Thailand's economy making the sector, and farmers, a powerful political force.

($1 = 35.60 baht) (Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Kenneth Maxwell)

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