Regions

India elbowed out Thailand to take the position of world’s largest rice exporter

February 1
2:03 AM 2016

With 10.23 million tons of rice shipped in 2015, India has taken the leading position among the world's top rice exporters. The country outranked Thailand who came a close second with an export number of 9.8 million tons this year.

The country's decision to sell basmati rice at low cost acted as a major catalyst for increasing its exports. A lot of major rice-exporting countries failed to match the price mainly because of higher production costs. It eventually led to India capturing a much bigger market, earning it the title of 'number one rice exporter of the world'.

According to Business Standard, Thai Rice Exporters Association Chairman Charoen Laodhammatas mentioned on Wednesday that Thailand's 2015 numbers reflect a 10.8% year-on-year decrease, a decline from last year's 10.9 million tons. This has basically pushed the former leader from its number one spot.

As such, Thai rice exports came down to approximately $4.6 billion in 2015 from $5.4 billion in the previous year, as reported by The Tribune. This indicates that the rice prices in the country have hit an all-time low since the last ten years mainly because of droughts in the producing areas. The dismal prices are expected to pick up once the situation improves. This year, Thai rice exports are expected to touch around 9 million tons, as the government plans to offload around 4 million tons from the stockpile this year and another 5 million tons by next year.

The drop in prices would be the oil crisis that has become a global concern. The falling oil prices have impacted the purchasing power of countries having a high demand for rice, which has created a scenario of supply exceeding demand.

In fact, according to Dawn, while the global economic slowdown is one major reason for the setback in rice prices, India is apprehensive about a decline in its capital city's export numbers mainly because of this decrease in the purchasing power of the main buyers like Iran and Nigeria, which will likely adversely impact India's export numbers for 2015-16 that are expected to be lower than this year's shipment.

Additionally, as per latest export updates, shipment for both basmati and non-basmati rice has declined by 7.3pc in volumes and 18pc in value terms for the April-November period, compared to last year's numbers. Iran, the chief importer of Indian aromatic rice over the recent years, saw a drop in its volume by 25pc to 0.39m ton during the April-October period.

While India led the rice exporters this year followed by Thailand, Vietnam followed closely behind in the third position with exports of 6.4 million tons. China, however, has held on to the top spot as the world's largest importer of rice.

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