With record rice buys, export hopes brighten

New Delhi, Aug 27 | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 05:56am hrs
India will buy record quantities of rice from its farmers after a good harvest, a top government official said, raising hopes it will join the ranks of top global producers easing export curbs.

India will review its ban on non-basmati exports in November, and the possible return of what was the worlds second-biggest rice exporter last year will add further pressure to prices that have slid around a third from their May record high. Alok Sinha, chief of the Food Corp of India, told Reuters the state-run firm had already bought more than the targeted 27 million tonne, easing concerns of some trade and government officials that procurement would fall short of the mark. After procuring record quantities of wheat, we are going to repeat the feat in rice by procuring 28 million tonne, surpassing 27.5 million tonnesprocured two years ago, Sinha said.

India joined other major producers earlier this year in banning exports on fears of dwindling supplies and rising prices, sending benchmark Thai prices up three-fold to a record peak of $1,080 a tonne. Egypt has said it will end its ban next month. Pakistan has scrapped a minimum export price, and Vietnam lifted its ban in mid-June.