Thai Rice Exports Get Boost From Global Virus Fear

Foreign teachers participate in rice harvesting activities on Nov. 15, 2016, in Sa Kaeo province.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The global COVID-19 scare has unexpectedly boosted Thai rice exports, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

“The COVID-19 situation has led to many countries stocking up on food supplies, boosting orders for Thai rice,” Chookiat told Xinhua. “Many rice importers worldwide want Thai rice shippers to deliver 100 percent of the order quantity immediately.”

He said that rice importers preferred delivery of 50 percent of the order, such as 50 percent in March and the rest in April. But now they want 100 percent full delivery.”

Chookiat said the price of rice exported from Thailand rose from 410 U.S. dollars per ton to 450-460 U.S. dollars per ton.

Due to the recent rise in demand, Thailand’s rice exports in February were estimated at 630,000 tons.

The association president said that should the COVID-19 situation subsides, rice orders will drop.

“Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Thai rice has done extremely well. We are targeting 7.5 million ton this year,” he said.