BANGKOK: Thailand plans to offer for sale 2 million tonnes of rice still remaining in state stockpiles next month or in May, the country's commerce ministry said on Monday.
Thailand's military government inherited 18.7 million tonnes of rice stocks built up under the previous government's rice subsidy scheme, and has held several auctions since taking power in May 2014. The last auction was in July 2017.
"Currently there is constant demand for rice in both domestic and international markets," said Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the commerce ministry's department of foreign trade.
An auction that will be set for next month or May will aim to offload the remaining amount, which includes 40,000 tonnes of rice for human consumption and 2 million tonnes of rice unfit for human or animal consumption and intended for industrial use.
If the amount sold is short of the target, another auction might open in the third quarter this year, Adul said.
Thailand has already exported 2 million tonnes of rice so far in 2018, up 4.17 percent from the same period last year. The amount sold was worth almost $1 billion.
Thailand, the world's second-biggest rice exporter after India, aims to export 9.5 million tonnes this year. The country shipped a record 11.63 million tonnes of rice in 2017.
The commerce ministry said Thailand has received rice orders from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan so far this year.
The Thai government will ship 100,000 tonnes of rice on a government-to-government deal with China's state-owned trader COFCO Corporation this month or next month, the ministry said.
Thailand is planning to participate in a rice tender due out from the Philippines, which is looking to import 250,000 tonnes.