Bloomberg News

Pakistan’s Rice Sales Seen Climbing as Harvest Set to Cut Prices

September 26, 2012

Rice exports from Pakistan, the fourth-largest shipper, are set to rebound from November with the new harvest after a rally in domestic prices and cheaper supplies from India cut shipments, a traders’ group said.

Overseas sales may reach 4 million metric tons in the year that began on July 1 as increased supplies from the new crop cool local prices, said Safder Hussain Mehkri, vice chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan. Exports slumped 46 percent to 238,659 tons in the July-August period, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Shipments were 3.7 million tons in 2011-2012, according to the association.

Rice, staple for half the world, is poised for a second monthly decline as Thailand and India, the world’s biggest exporters, accelerated sales. Futures are little changed this year, lagging behind corn, wheat and soybeans, as global rice harvests are set for a record.

“New harvest will bring down the prices which are way too high at the moment, making us less competitive in the global market,” Mehkri said by phone from Karachi. “Our rice is 10-15 percent costlier than India’s. Better domestic prices will improve our competitiveness against India.”

Non-basmati rice from Pakistan was sold at about $451 a ton free-on-board in July and August, while it was $385 a ton in India, according to data from the exporters’ associations in both the countries. Rough rice for November delivery was little changed at $14.90 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade at 6:48 p.m. in Singapore yesterday. Futures have lost 2.5 percent this month.

Indian Exports

India will export 8 million tons in 2011-2012, making it the top shipper ahead of Vietnam and Thailand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. In 2012-2013 India’s shipments would drop to 7 million tons, compared with Thailand’s 8 million tons and Vietnam’s 7 million tons, the USDA estimates. Pakistan’s exports in 2012-2013 will reach 4 million tons, according to the agency.

Shipments from Pakistan were also hurt by international trade sanctions on Iran, which made payments between traders in the two countries difficult, Mehkri said. The rice harvest this year may surpass the 6 million tons in 2011-2012, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Augustine Anthony at aanthony9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net.


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