Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce said that the country plans to sell its entire rice stockpile of 8.01 million tonnes in the first half of 2017, starting with the auction of 2.87 million tonnes of high-quality rice on February 16.

The remaining rice, which is of lower quality, will be sold to food and industrial processors between March and May.

According to Director General of the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Foreign Trade, Duangporn Rodphaya, the auction on February 16 is expected to reduce pressure on the rice price on the world market, while easing the storage costs for Thailand.

It is forecast that Thailand’s rice exporters will have a difficult year in 2017 with the strong increase of rice supply while the demand of the market is lower than last year.

According to a report released by the Thai Rice Exporters Association on February 4, the country will export around 9.5 million tonnes of rice at an estimated value of 150 billion THB (4.3 billion USD) in 2017. Last year, Thailand shipped abroad 9.88 million tonnes for 154 billion THB.

Competition from other rice export countries, the low rice price and the devaluation of the baht are cited as reasons behind the reduction in Thailand’s rice export value.

However, Thailand is expected to keep its position as the world’s second largest rice exporter after India.-VNA