Rice crisis : prices could go up again, after India bans exports

Rice prices in the world’s two leading producers of the grain, Thailand and Vietnam, are expected to surge after India’s ban on exports of non-basmati rice, traders and officials said on Wednesday.

“We have never seen before prices surging as high as the current market and I expect that prices could rise much higher,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

Thai premium grade fragrant rice would also rise to an historic high $1,200 a tonne, double the $600 early this year, said Chookiat.

On Monday, India imposed a ban on non-basmati rice exports to ensure the country had enough rice to feed its more than 1 billion people and to ease pressure on domestic prices, which have pushed wholesale inflation to a 14-month high. (Reuters, whole article here).

Click here to see the my chart of rice exports from Thailand (sharp increase since october 2007).

Meanwhile : “Fears of rice-hoarding and insufficient supplies for daily sustenance, especially for the poor, are flooding Thailand as the ricebowl of the world and export giant struggles to meet domestic supplies.

Huge rises in world market prices threaten to remove staple food from the diet of the Thai people themselves if greedy middlemen and large-scale growers try to make a killing by exporting to overseas markets what should be retained at home.” (TNA)

We are now in a vicious circle : common people seeing the continuous increases of prices have the temptation… to buy and stock more, leading to more fears of shortages… and more price increases.

Tesco Lotus is ready to cooperate.

Should the government want the private sector to limit or ration rice sales to consumers, he said, the store is ready to cooperate.” (TNA)

Could the next step be a… ration system ?

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Thailand Crisis

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But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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