BANGKOK, THAILAND – The La Niña weather phenomenon will provide abundant rainfall and water supplies to Thai rice farmers, producing 20 million tonnes of rice in the 2022-23 marketing year, a 2% increase from 2021 -22, according to a Global Agricultural Information Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture network Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
USDA’s FAS Bangkok Post forecasts rice exports in 2022 at 8 million tonnes, up 31% from 6.1 million tonnes in 2021, due to increased supply from exporters .
“The weakening of the Thai baht has made Thai rice export prices attractive and competitive,” FAS said. “Traders expect demand for Thai rice to increase for the remainder of 2022 as current Thai rice prices are competitive with other exporting countries.”
Wheat imports for 2022-23 were revised down to 2.7 million tonnes as demand for milling wheat fell more than growing demand for feed wheat. Despite the reduction, 2022-23 wheat imports are still 8% higher than 2021-22.
The FAS revised down imports of milling wheat to 1.1 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous year despite an expected increase in the number of foreign tourists.
“Mills are cautious in stockpiling milling wheat and flour due to concerns over high milling wheat import prices,” FAS said. “Additionally, bakeries slowed production of baked goods due to a 20% increase in production costs.”
The FAS expects feed wheat imports to increase to 1.6 million tonnes, up 14% from a year earlier. Traders expect strong demand for poultry exports in line with the economic recovery, which will lead to increased demand for feed wheat and other feed ingredients in poultry production.
In addition, the Thai government announced the temporary removal of feed wheat import restrictions between May 10 and July 31, 2022, which may increase the demand for feed wheat imports.
The FAS forecast for 2021-22 maize production remains unchanged at 5.3 million tonnes, down 4% from 2020-21 due to reduced off-season maize acreage. The forecast for maize imports in 2021-22 remains unchanged at 1.5 million tonnes, down 22% from 2020-21. Local mills are likely to use locally produced maize and broken rice for animal feed production.