The Commerce Ministry devices to cuddle an additional round of bidding for 200,000 tonnes of rice next week, which possibly will be the last before the main harvest season starts sloping early next month.

After a summit of the rice stock-releasing committee, a ministry source said that the sale for general traders should be opened on October 22.

The ministry will request for authorization from the chairman of the Rice Policy and Management Committee and circulate the terms of reference.

According to the source, this may perhaps be the last general bidding for this year. Later the ministry could suspend more rounds to stop burden on rice prices in the market all through the harvest.

Nevertheless, the ministry will continue with rice discharging by means of other procedures such as government-to-government and government-to-private sales.Of the 200,000 tonnes on bid, about 80,000 tonnes will be 5-per-cent white rice and 120,000 tonnes will be broken rice.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the rice price had been dropping for a couple weeks because of rain. Shippers could not carriage rice as they were scared of high moisture.

Thai Rice Exporters Association stated, 5-per-cent white rice was quoted at US$428 a tonne on October 8, compared with $433 on October 1. Thai rice is fairly cheap compared with 5-per-cent Vietnamese rice, which is traded at $445 a tonne.

The ministry has increased in ordering of about 140,000 tonnes of government rice via two auctions worth Bt1.7 billion this year.

A rice trader pointed that the next auction would benefit only exporters, as only 5-per-cent white rice and broken rice were accessible. Usually, the domestic market consumes 100-per-cent white rice.