Thailand is expected to export 9.5 million tons of rice in 2015, lower than the previous forecast of 10 million tons, the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) said Tuesday.
In the first half of this year, Thailand's rice exports reached 4.5 million tons, TREA President Chareon Laothamatas said, adding monthly exports are estimated at 800,000 tons in the second half.
The current drought crisis has caused rice production to slump by 15-20 percent, or about 2-3 million tons, according to Chareon.
This serves as a good opportunity for the government to release its in-stock rice and thus reduce maintenance costs by about 46 million baht (1.33 million U.S. dollars) per day, he added.
Meanwhile, Chareon pointed out that Thailand's rice exports could be affected by unclear prospects of the global economic recovery, as importing countries could be forced to reduce imports of rice from Thailand.
The TREA suggested the Thai government increase rice exports in the remainder of this year by releasing in-stock rice, speeding up government-to-government rice sales to China, and monitoring and stabilizing exchange rates.