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April 01, 2020

Rice stocks adequate to meet local demand: peak industry body

Despite rising local prices amid increased exports, rice stocks in the country are adequate to meet  demand until the monsoon paddy harvest, the Myanmar Rice Federation says.  Photo: Credit to World Bank Myanmar
Despite rising local prices amid increased exports, rice stocks in the country are adequate to meet demand until the monsoon paddy harvest, the Myanmar Rice Federation says. Photo: Credit to World Bank Myanmar

Yangon, 18 June—Rising rice prices are the result of increased exports and U.S. dollar’s surge against the kyat and do not indicate a shortage for the local market, according to the country’s peak rice industry body.
Myanmar Rice Federation vice-chairman Dr Soe Tun said Wednesday fears of prices continuing to rise until the monsoon paddy harvest are unfounded.
Traders and brokerages report prices are 20 percent higher than usual, but appear to have peaked, Dr Soe Tun said.
“As soaring rice prices are making it harder for exporters to ship large volumes, it may result in a certain amount of rice being kept in the hands of local millers and traders who are hopeful of fetching good prices in rice exports to China,” he said.
The information about the volume of rice in the country was released after a meeting in Yangon between the MRF CEC members and responsible persons from region and state rice associations on Wednesday.
Myanmar sends roughly 3,000 tons of rice and about 1,000 tons of broken rice to China daily, while shipping a small volume
of broken rice to the EU market, according to
the meeting.
The MRF called on rice exporters to maintain the volume of rice trading at the meeting.
Despite rising exports to China, 50 percent of rice produced in the previous monsoon and winter cultivation seasons is still in storage as part of a strategic reserve, U Win Myint, chairman of the Ayeyawady Region farmers association, told The Global New Light of Myanmar.
He expressed his view that the local rice market is likely to cool down as prices have peaked. He attributed the rising prices to the value of the U.S. dollar, which has risen sharply against the kyat.
“I do not think rice prices will rise further, nor do I think they will decrease over the next three or four months.” He also echoed the MRF’s position that stocks will be sufficient to meet domestic consumption.
Last year Myanmar exported more than 1.8 million tons of rice.  Some 450,000 tons of rice were sent to China in the preceding four months.   According to official statistics, Myanmar produces around 14 million tons of rice a year, with all but 12 million tons consumed locally. GNLM

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