Thai rice exports to fall 14 percent in 2019

Rabu, 30 Januari 2019 / 13:57 WIB

Thai rice exports to fall 14 percent in 2019

KONTAN.CO.ID - BANGKOK. Thailand's rice exports are expected to fall 14 percent in 2019 to 9.5 million tonnes as a stronger currency makes shipments more expensive for overseas buyers, the country's rice exporters association said on Wednesday.

The world's second-biggest rice exporter shipped 11 million tonnes of rice last year, but demand from overseas buyers has slowed in recent months as the Thai baht has strengthened.

Thai growers have also faced increased competition from India, the world's biggest rice exporter, and Vietnam, the third biggest, Chookiat Ophaswongse, the association's honorary president, told a news conference.

"Our competitiveness is lower, but our production remains the same," Chookiat said, noting quality improvements in rival Vietnam.

The baht has strengthened for the past three months against the U.S. dollar and has gained nearly 3.4 percent so far this year, making it the best performing currency in Asia.

Rice is a major commodity export for Thailand. Sales of 9.5 million tonnes would generate about $4.8 billion, Chookiat said.

Charoen Laothamatas, the association's president, urged the government to address the baht's appreciation and volatility.

"Our competitors are getting stronger while we're regressing ... It gets worse every year as long as we don't have a long-term strategy for not just rice but also other agricultural products," Charoen said.

"The government should help weaken the baht. This is something that can be done immediately."

Thailand's finance minister said earlier on Wednesday that the strong baht is hurting exports of agricultural goods.

Thailand mainly exports rice to Africa and Asia. Chookiat said he expected Indonesia to import less Thai rice this year due to ample stocks, while the Philippines and Malaysia were expected to buy more from Vietnam due to pricing.

Sumber : Reuters
Editor: Wahyu Rahmawati
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