Rice exports of Thailand in 2018 will be less than the target growth of 9.5 percent due to strong baht and decrease in rice production, said the Thai Rice Exporters Association  (Illustrative photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Rice exports of Thailand in 2018 will be less than the target growth of 9.5 percent due to strong baht and decrease in rice production, said the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA).

The target was 18 percent lower than 2017’s 11.6 million tonnes. President of TREA Charoen Laothamatas explained that the strong baht caused a major difficulty for the country’s rice export as the prices of Thai rice have become less competitive.

The baht increased nine percent compared to the US dollar in 2017 and increased by 3.1 percent in 2018 to be at 31.6 THB/USD.

Laothamatas said the TREA will closely monitor exports in the first quarter of this year and, if the baht continues to rise, may revise the 2018 export target to below the previous forecast of 9.5 million tonnes which was put forward in late 2017.

Thailand’s Hom Mali fragrant rice was sold at 1,200 USD per tonne in mid-February, twice the price of Vietnam’s aromatic rice.

The association said that global demand will maintain strong as major importers such as the Philippines and Indonesia will buy about 1-1.5 million tonnes this year.

The Thai Government recently announced the rice production in 2018 stands at 30 million tonnes, a decline compared to the 33 million tonnes of 2017.-VNA