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BANGKOK: Thailand’s rice exports for January-May were at 3.47 million metric tons, up 26.6% from a year earlier, helped by higher global demand and a weaker baht currency, the Commerce Ministry said on Friday.

In May alone, rice shipments jumped by 88% from a year earlier to about 850,000 metric tons.

The ministry earlier put January-May rice exports at 3.4 million metric tons but later adjusted the amount to 3.47 million.

Rice exports are expected to exceed 8 million metric tons for the whole of 2023, beating the ministry’s target, Ronnarong Phoolpipat, head of the ministry’s foreign trade department, told a news conference.

Asia rice: Tight supply, robust demand propels export prices to 2-year peak

Thailand has also seen high rice output this year as Vietnamese exports will be limited after large shipments earlier in the year, he added.

The baht, which has weakened by 1.8% against the dollar so far this year, should continue to support Thai rice shipments, Ronnarong said.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said this week that the expected rice exports this year would help Thailand become the world’s second-largest rice exporter after India.

In 2022, Thailand exported 7.69 million metric tons of rice, up 22.1% from a year earlier, beating a target of 7.5 million metric tons, with top markets being Iraq, South Africa, China and the United States.

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