Myanmar is poised to witness a resurgence in its rice export sales as recent developments in the region have prompted a shift in the market dynamics. The limiting of rice exports by India, coupled with elevated prices of Thai and Vietnamese rice, has created an opportune environment for Myanmar to capture a larger share of the global rice trade.
The President of the Myanmar Rice Federation revealed last week that a series of factors is aligning to potentially boost Myanmar’s rice exports in the coming months. The global supply constraints, resulting from India’s decision to curtail rice exports, along with the escalating prices of rice from neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, have prompted buyers to seek alternative sources for their rice orders.
The fiscal year had presented a challenging start for Myanmar’s rice exports, with a 56 percent decline in the first four months. During this period, the nation exported approximately 320,000 tonnes of rice, generating a revenue of only $138 million. This downturn was partially attributed to the government’s prioritization of trading high-quality rice.
However, a positive shift is on the horizon. The recent announcement by India, the world’s largest rice exporter, regarding the suspension of certain rice exports to stabilize domestic prices ahead of an upcoming general election, has opened doors for Myanmar. This decision, in turn, has caused rice prices to surge in Myanmar’s regional competitors, creating an advantageous environment for Myanmar’s rice exports.
In Myanmar, the food security issue is compounded by the challenges posed by the political instability stemming from the 2021 coup. Furthermore, export policies that prioritize domestic supply have added complexity to the situation.
High-quality rice exports hold the potential for substantial earnings, with prices reaching as high as $700 per tonne. This is a notable contrast to the $300-400 per tonne typically fetched by lower-quality rice. The federation also pointed out that Myanmar has implemented restrictions on rice exports to relatively prosperous nations.
As Myanmar navigates these market dynamics, the nation is presented with an opportunity to not only increase its rice export revenue but also play a pivotal role in the global rice trade. The interplay between export policies, regional supply fluctuations, and economic considerations will continue to shape Myanmar’s rice trade landscape in the months to come.