The president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, Charoen Laothamtas, is concerned that the strong Thai baht is having a negative impact on rice exports.
He notes that the baht has risen about 6% against the US dollar since January, whereas the Vietnam dong has held steady and the Indian rupee has even weakened.
“The stronger baht has largely made Thai rice more expensive than those of our competitors. Homali fragrant rice, for example, currently costs $1,200 per metric tonne, while Vietnam jasmine is only $520.”
He adds that total rice exports are expected to reach 9 million tonnes this year, down from 11.2 million in 2018. Water shortages are not helping matters, with so little water in reserve at dams.
Meanwhile, rice vendors are complaining about the rising cost of glutinous rice, but Charoen points out that glutinous rice is for domestic consumption rather than export, and its price is quite sensitive to local demand and supply.
Farmers in the northeast have given up growing it, as preferences shift to fragrant rice, resulting in a diminished supply.