Vietnam is set to overtake Thailand in 2019/20 as the world’s second-largest exporter, as the country benefits from tighter supply and high prices for rice in Thailand.
Extreme drought conditions have limited Thai rice exportable supplies, causing prices to surge thus making Thai rice less attractive in the global market. As a result, Thailand’s rice export is forecast at 6.5 million tonnes in 2019/20, the lowest since 1997/98, according to the USDA.
Thailand had a brief window of opportunity to increase the volume of its exports when Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma imposed export restrictions and quotas during early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Thai exports are reported to have fallen since these competitors re-entered the market.
Despite the export restriction earlier in the year, Vietnam is projected to export 100,000 tonnes more than Thailand, a total of 6.6 million tonnes in 2019/20. If these volumes are realised, Vietnam is set to become the second-largest global rice exporter, overtaking Thailand.
India, on the other hand, is expected to remain the top rice exporter, benefiting from a robust supply. However, rising coronavirus cases in and around Kakinada port (one of the main harbours for rice shipments from India), is likely to create logistical problems, thus impacting export volumes. Global rice prices have been supported by such supply concerns, with Thai rice prices rising by 3.3% to $466/MT on the two weeks to 29th July.