Pakistan, the world’s fourth-largest rice shipper, may miss a target to boost sales by 8 percent this year as surging shipments from India increase competition, an exporters’ group said.
Sales may fall below the 3.72 million metric tons posted in the year ended June 30 and less than the 4 million tons targeted earlier, Jawed Ali Ghori, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, said in an interview in Karachi. Exports have slumped 25 percent in the first four months this year, he said.
Rice gained 3.6 percent in Chicago this year compared with a 31 percent jump in wheat and a 16 percent rally in corn. Rice export prices, tracked by the United Nations, declined 3.6 percent in the 12 months to October, as shippers including India, Vietnam and Pakistan competed for market share, curbing food costs and preventing a global food crisis.
“The new crop may push prices further which will make selling the commodity difficult,” Ghori said. “It will be difficult to match last year’s exports by value or volume.”
Pakistan’s rice exports including, aromatic basmati variety, fetched $2.2 billion in 2011-2012, according to the shippers’ group. Sales plunged to 645,333 tons valued at $376 million in the four months through October, Ghori said.
“Basmati sales will decline this year because of rising competition from India, which is creating a pricing problem for us in the international market,” Ghori said.
Exports from India will total 7.25 million tons in 2012-2013, compared with 10.4 million tons the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Global milled rice production will rise to an all-time high of 486 million tons in 2012, increasing inventories to a record 170 million tons, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report last month. Opening stockpiles for 2012-2013 will climb to the highest in a decade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Pakistan’s rice harvest is set to climb 9 percent to 6.5 million tons this year as increased use of a hybrid seed boosts yields, Ghori said. The harvest of the new crop started last month, he said.
Pakistan will continue to export rice to traditional buyers such as Somalia and Kenya and also to China and the Philippines, Ghori said. The Philippines will buy 250,000 tons from Pakistan under a World Trade Organization quota and traders have already sold 120,000 tons to China last month, he said.
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