Thailand’s 2020 rice exports forecast to hit lowest in 20 years hinh anh 1Thailand's rice exports are forecast to drop to 6.5 million tonnes this year (Photo: AFP)

Bangkok (VNA) - The Thai Rice Exporters Association on July 22 predicted that the country’s 2020 rice exports will drop to 6.5 million tonnes, the lowest volume in two decades, owing to drought and a strong baht currency.

The association’s latest forecast for Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter last year, is lower than its previous expectation of a seven-year low of 7.5 million tonnes for 2020.

It attributed that to a persistently strong baht compared to other currencies and drought cutting Thai rice output by 5 million tonnes this production season, making prices higher and uncompetitive.

“The new forecast of 6.5 million tonnes is the lowest volume in 20 years,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, adding the previous low was 6.15 million tonnes in 2000.

From January to June, Thailand exported 3.14 million tonnes of rice, about a third less than the same period last year, the association’s data showed, less than India’s 4.53 million tonnes and the 4.04 million tonnes shipped by Vietnam.

Meanwhile, lower global purchasing power has seen Thai white rice lose out to cheaper grades offered by Vietnam in key Asian markets like the Philippines.

China, once a Thai rice importer, has also beat Thailand in key African markets with cheaper prices./.