According to the commerce ministry, Thailand sold 1.66 million tonnes of rice worth $49 million this week, accounting for 90 percent of the amount open for auction last month from the state stockpiles.
Pledged rice stocks fit for human consumption have shrunk to only 160,000 out of a total of 1.82 million tonnes. Thailand is the world’s second-biggest rice exporter after India, and still has stocks of about 3 million tonnes left over from the previous government’s rice-buying scheme, which paid farmers well above market rates. The current military government has been trying to sell off stockpiles from the scheme through several state auctions since it took power in 2014. It said it will be able to offload the remaining stock, including 160,000 tonnes of rice and 2.7 million tonnes of spoiled rice, by year-end.
Thailand officially aims to export 9.5 million tonnes of rice this year, but 10 million tonnes was also achievable. Thailand is ready to join the bid being planned by Philippines, one of the world’s leading rice buyers, to buy 250,000 tonnes of the grain next month to increase their stockpiles. Apart from that there is also demand for about 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Bangladesh while Iraq is also interested in buying more rice from Thailand, said Keerati Rushchano, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department.