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GIEWS Country Brief: Thailand 19-June-2018

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  • Near average rains and adequate irrigation water availability benefit planting operations of 2018 main crops

  • Aggregate paddy production in 2017 forecast slightly above average

  • Rice exports in 2018 forecast to decline from previous year’s record level

  • Prices of rice on increase supported by strong import demand

Near average rains and adequate irrigation water availability benefit planting operations of 2018 main crops

The 2018 main paddy and maize crops are currently being planted. Rainfall since mid-April has been near average throughout most of the country and, coupled with adequate irrigation water availability, it benefitted planting operations and early crop development. Overall, the area planted with both crops is expected to expand, supported by remunerative farm gate prices and adequate water availability in the main reservoirs.

Paddy production in 2017 forecast to increase

Harvesting of the 2017 main paddy crop was concluded in January 2018, while the harvest period for the minor (secondary) paddy crop is underway and is expected to conclude at the end of June. Despite the crop losses caused by floods in July 2017 in the northeastern farming region, the 2017 aggregate paddy output is forecast at 33.7 million tonnes, 4 percent above the 2016 level. The projected year-on-year increase mirrors expectations of higher secondary crop production, reflecting an expansion in plantings as a result of attractive producer prices and supported by ample availability of water for irrigation.

The production of the 2017 maize crop, with the bulk harvested by September 2017, is officially estimated at 4.9 million tonnes, slightly above the average level. The increase is mostly the result of an expansion in plantings owing to sustained strong demand from the feed industry.

Rice exports in 2018 forecast to decrease from previous year’s record level

Rice exports in calendar year 2018 are forecast at 9.9 million tonnes, 15 percent below last year’s record level.

Rice prices on increase supported by strong demand for exports

Domestic rice prices have generally increased since March 2018, reflecting strong demand from importing countries. The improved supplies in the market from the secondary crop harvest, estimated at a good level, limited further price increases. Overall, prices of rice in May were close to their year-earlier levels.

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