Thailand predicts rice prices to rise until mid-year hinh anh 1Sacks of Thai rice in supermarkets (Source: VNA)
Bangkok (VNA) – Rice prices will rise until the middle of the year as consumers around the world are beefing up their stockpiles, while China will not increase their exports for food security to deal with the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) forecast.

TREA Honourary President Chookiat Ophaswongse said that global rice demand has surged since the virus outbreak, causing rice prices to increase by 30-50 USD per tonne since early 2020.

Meanwhile, China, which controls a massive rice stock of up to 120 million tonnes, has halted exports after shipping 3 million tonnes priced about 100 USD per tonne lower than Thai grains last year, he said.

Before the virus outbreak, it was estimated China would boost its rice shipments to 3.5-4 million tonnes this year.

According to Chookiat, buyers from several countries are now more interested in Thai rice, with some importers willing to buy unlimited amounts to boost their stocks. The free-on-board prices of 5 percent white rice have risen to 440-450 USD per tonne from 400 USD at the beginning of the year.

He predicts rice prices will gradually increase until the middle of the year, or longer if the epidemic is prolonged.

In 2019, Thailand exported 7.58 million tonnes of rice, earning 131 billion THB (4.15 billion USD), down 32 percent in volume and 25 percent in value year-on-year. TREA set a goal of pocketing 4.2 billion USD from shipping 7.5 million tonnes of rice abroad this year, the lowest target since 2013./.