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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thailand Planning Fewer Rice Harvests in Pest Fight Means Drop in Exports

  Mat Bihi       Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, plans to reduce planting to curb pests and improve quality, an official from the Thai Rice Mills Association said.
The plan started in October may eventually reduce exports by about 2 million metric tons a year, or about 20 percent of Thailand’s shipments, Pramote Vanichanont, honorary president of the Bangkok-based association, said in an interview, without giving a timeframe. The nation plans to set a global benchmark price through a centralized auction, the government said.
A drop in supplies from the country, which represents one- third of global shipments of 30 million tons, may boost prices in Chicago, which have dropped 3 percent this year, trailing wheat and corn. World food costs rose to a record in February, the United Nations estimates, contributing to riots in Libya and the toppling of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.
“I doubt whether it is a good policy, as cutting the supply may lead to food shortages,” Kiattisak Kanlayasirivat, a director at the Thai office of Novel Commodities SA, which trades about $600 million of rice a year. “By reducing the supply, this will bring up prices.”
Rice for May delivery gained 0.3 percent to $13.900 per 100 pounds at 7:05 p.m. Singapore time today. The most active contract increased 9.1 percent in the past 12 months as wheat climbed 52 percent and corn advanced 89 percent.
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