India rice exports seen surging to record as Bangladesh boosts buying

India rice exports seen surging to record as Bangladesh boosts buying

SAM Staff,
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India’s rice exports likely jumped 22 percent in 2017 to a record 12.3 million tonnes as neighbouring Bangladesh ramped up purchases after flooding hit its crops, industry officials said.

The boost in shipments from the world’s top exporter of the grain is set to extend into 2018 as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka continue to buy aggressively amid depleting inventories in No.2 exporter Thailand, the officials said.
“Bangladesh was actively buying throughout 2017. It offset the impact of slightly weaker demand from African countries,” said M. Adishankar, executive director at Sri Lalitha, a leading rice exporter located in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Bangladesh’s purchases likely lifted India’s non-basmati rice exports by 38 percent in 2017 to 8.4 million tonnes and total exports to 12.3 million tonnes, the officials and exporters said. That would surpass 2014’s record of 11.5 million tonnes.

They based the 2017 export figures on their estimates for December shipments plus previously issued government data for January to November. Government numbers for December are expected to be released around the start of next month.

India exports non-basmati rice mainly to African and Asian countries and premium basmati rice to the Middle East, the United States and Britain.

Traditionally the world’s fourth-biggest rice producer, Bangladesh emerged as a major importer of the grain in 2017 after floods damaged crops and pushed domestic prices to record highs.

Bangladesh sourced more than 80 percent of its 2017 imports of 2.4 million tonnes from India, said Badrul Hasan, head of Bangladesh’s state grains buyer.

The South Asian nation’s overseas rice purchases are likely to remain robust until supply rises after its summer crop, also known as Boro, in May, Hasan said.

Boro contributes more than half Bangladesh’s typical annual rice output of around 35 million tonnes.

Last year Bangladesh reduced import taxes on rice to boost private buying. It also bought rice from India in state-to-state deals to quickly raise supplies and try to rein in prices.

But rice prices stayed high in Bangladesh despite the largest imports in nearly two decades, which will encourage farmers to expand the amount of land used to cultivate the staple crop, Hasan said.

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SOURCEEconomic Times
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