India’s rice exports set to ease as govt raises buying price

Source : The Economic Times, Jul 10, 2018

MUMBAI: India’s rice exports are set to ease from October as the world’s biggest shipper of the grain boosts guaranteed prices that farmers receive for much of their crop, making new season cargoes expensive compared to supply from rival growers.

Lower exports would mean that India loses market share in key Asian and African markets, traders and industry sources said, with exports from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar likely to fill any gaps.

India on Wednesday raised prices paid to local farmers for common grade paddy rice by 13 percent from a year ago to 1,750 rupees ($25.50) per 100 kg, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi looking to woo millions of rural poor ahead of a general election next year.

The government typically buys more than a third of the country’s rice output at a fixed price, which also has a direct impact on prices paid by traders.

“With this price rise, our exports will become expensive,” said B V Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association (REA).

“The customer base that we have created over a period of time is going to shift to Thailand and Vietnam.”
And Indian states like Chhattisgarh could announce additional payments to farmers on top of the prices fixed by the central government, industry officials said.

“Chhattisgarh could announce a bonus of around 200 to 300 rupees (per 100kg). This will further widen the gap between local and international prices,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.

India uses rice and wheat that it buys from local farmers at a fixed price to supply subsidised food to the poor.


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