Thailand Rice Exporters Association has cut rice export forecasts for 2020 by five million due to the corona virus pandemic, draught and a strong baht.
This coming at a period the country lost its market share in Nigeria, its fifth largest market as of 2014, importing
1.23 million Metric tonnes of rice as a result of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) foreign exchange restriction on rice importation to encourage local production.
The President of the association, Charoen Laothammatas, said that henceforth the country will export 6.5 million tones of rice in 2020, the lowest export projections in two decades which is also lower than the previous expectation of a seven year low of 7.5 million tones.
Laothammatas explained that Thai rice prices are $30-80 a tone higher than those of competitors because of the strong baht, while the widespread drought has cut the domestic rice supply by 20$ or five million tones of paddy rice this year, noting that the country is expected to see continuous drop in exports.
He said, “Thailand’s rice exports are hampered by a host of negative factors, be it the corona virus crisis that weakened global demand, a strong baht that makes Thai rice more expensive, or continued drought cutting into production”.
“Thailand is expected to see a continuous drop in exports as the country’s current rice policy lacks continuity or a long-term development plan.
“Thailand’s production costs are relatively higher than those of competitors, while higher logistics costs and strong baht have made Thai rice prices become more expensive than the grains of competitors”.
Thailand was reported to have exported 3.14 million tones of rice between January and June, about a third less than the same period in 2019.
Nigeria’s rice importation from Thailand dropped to 5,161 MT between January and September 2018.
Vanguard, July 24, 2020
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