- Thailand and Vietnam – two of the world’s largest rice producers – are talking about high prices.
- A Thai government spokesman said they aim to increase farmers’ income and bargaining power.
- Thailand and Vietnam are the second and third largest rice exporters in the world after India.
Reuters quoted Thai government spokesman Thanakorn Wangpunkongchana that two of the world’s largest rice producers are in talks to raise prices jointly.
“We want to increase rice prices, increase farmers’ income and strengthen bargaining power in the global market,” Thanakorn said on Friday, according to Reuters. The price of rice has been low for more than 20 years while production costs are rising.
Thailand and Vietnam are the second and third largest rice exporters in the world after India. Rising prices for staple grains could be bad news for billions of people around the world, especially on top of rising wheat prices.
Thailand’s Commerce Minister, Gorin Laksanawiest, told reporters on Friday that the country’s rice exports will get a boost this year as global demand picks up and the country’s currency drops to a five-year low against the US dollar used in international commodity trade, according to Bloomberg.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture did not immediately respond to Insider or Reuters requests for comment.
The Vietnam Food Association played down the possibility of raising prices ahead of the June meeting with its Thai counterparts.
“The meeting will focus on cooperation measures on sustainable food production,” Nguyen Ngoc Nam, president of the Vietnam Food Federation, told Reuters. “It is unreasonable to talk about raising or controlling rice prices at this time of rising global food prices.”
Neither Thailand nor Vietnam is facing rice supply shortages this year, according to USDA data. However, as in many countries, inflation has risen sharply in both countries over the past year, putting pressure on the government to mitigate the impact on its population. About 30% to 40% of the population in Thailand and Vietnam work in agriculture, according to the United Nations.
Consumer prices in Thailand are hovering around a 13-year high after rising 4.71% year-on-year in April, according to data from the country’s Ministry of Commerce. Prices in Vietnam rose 2.86% year-on-year in May, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
But consumers can turn to other major rice exporters – such as the largest rice exporter – for supplies.
B said. Reuters reported that he said that neither country had contacted India to participate in the rice cartel.
Standard export prices for Thai rice have averaged $420 a ton this year — up 16% from $363 a tonne in India, according to Reuters.
Indian trade and government sources told Reuters on Friday that there are no plans to limit rice exports.
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