Thailand the third-largest rice exporter after posting 6.7% expansion in 2021

Thailand became the world’s third-largest rice exporter by shipping 6.12 million tonnes of rice last year, up 6.7 per cent year-on-year, Thai Rice Exporters Association president Charoen Laothamatas said on January 31.

“Though the export volume has increased, the total value of exported rice in 2021 dropped 7.1 per cent from the previous year, or from $3.7 billion to $3.4 billion,” he said.

Meanwhile, India still remains the top rice exporter for four consecutive years with 19.5 million tonnes of rice exported in 2021, up 33.9 per cent year-on-year. Vietnam came in second with 6.24 million tonnes exported last year, dropping 5.2 per cent year-on-year.

Pakistan and the US, meanwhile, are in fourth and fifth places, with 3.93 million tonnes and 2.85 million tonnes of rice exported in 2021, respectively.

The association also reported that in December 2021, Thailand exported 729.12 tonnes of rice valued at 12.5 billion baht ($376 million), down 3.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively from the same period in the previous year.

“Rice export dropped towards the end of last year in both quantity and value because buyers tend to slow down after they have built up a stock of rice,” Charoen said.

Thailand’s biggest rice buyers in 2021 include China, Japan, the UAE, the Philippines, Congo, Syria, Benin and Angola.

“We expect rice export in January to be around 700,000 tonnes, while the target for 2022 is set at seven million tonnes,” said Charoen.

“Positive factors for rice export this year include the recovery of the global economy, increasing demand in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and our estimate that the baht will stay steady at 33 per US dollar, which will make our price competitive against other exporters.”