Economy, Domestic Economy

Thailand Expects to Sell 200KT of Rice

Thailand Expects to Sell 200KT of RiceThailand Expects to Sell 200KT of Rice

Thailand’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday it expects to sell 200,000 tons of rice to Iran, following a visit by its delegation to the Middle Eastern country.

Deputy Commerce Minister Suvit Maesincee said Iran has expressed interest in importing 200,000 tons of rice from Thailand and is in talks with Thai rice exporters, but details of the deal remain unclear, Pakistani financial daily Business Recorder reported.

The ministry’s officials and representatives from 53 private companies visited Iran earlier this week for strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries, ahead of an expected lifting of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“Iran, which consumes about 3 million tons of rice a year, has not said what type of rice it wants to import or whether it will buy rice from the government’s huge stockpiles,” Suvit said.

“Thailand is ready for Iranian agencies to come and inspect the quality of our rice.”

The lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran by the West could begin in the first quarter of 2016.

The easing of sanctions on Iran would give the country greater access to supplies at a time when Thailand’s military government is looking to offload huge rice stockpiles accumulated under the previous, civilian government.

Thai 5% broken rice has been idle for almost two months at $360-$365 a ton on an free-on-board basis.

Thai rice traders said new orders from Iran could help prevent prices from sinking further.

“It might not raise prices, but it will help stabilize them,” a Bangkok-based rice trader, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

In August, Thailand said it would sell 1 million tons of rice to China with delivery expected at yearend.

Apart from Thailand, Indian farmers of basmati rice are also seeking to resume exports to Iran after a one-year hiatus, which sent prices down by as much as 50%.