Over the past few years, Thai rice exports have been under pressure, which put the nation's rice industry in a spot where we lost the largest exporter title in 2012 and 2013, falling behind India and Vietnam. Stockpiling is still a problem. However, there have been positive developments during 1H14 when Thai rice shipments surpassed rivals, regaining the number one export position.
We believe that our rice exports will continue to improve on numerous helpful factors that should last into 2H14. Domestically, the government is trying to boost shipments of overstocked inventories. Internationally, India and Vietnam – our primary rivals – are slowing their exports, giving Thailand a chance to outdo them and stage a comeback. And, if India's ongoing drought is more severe and lasts longer than expected, we will have a good opportunity to reclaim the largest rice exporter status from them for this year, overall.
That said, all the advantages for Thailand toward returning to the top rank may only be temporary. Once their effects have subsided, we genuinely need to strengthen our global competitiveness to be able to deal with market mechanisms. Over the long run, we should take steps to get cooperation from those involved to boost upstream productivity. Amid fierce competition in rice trade, both existing and start-up exporters are ensuring that they are technologically and strategically prepared. We also believe that effective income distribution should be addressed so that farmers will be better off in a sustainable economy that many are trying to make happen.
Price-wise, Thai rice is marketed according to global commodity trends that can fluctuate. So a close watch is required to keep track of our export value. A finely-tuned domestic price policy that would probably be conducive to less-volatile pricing should take into account the interests of all parties involved across the entire supply chain.