Rice stockpile to be bid without price floor
The government will start selling its rice stockpile under this year's pledging programme without limits until the end of December, says Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.
A subcommittee on releasing the rice stock agreed yesterday the main and second crops of paddy pledged will be sold to any trader who can sell the rice domestically or export.
It also approved the sale of paddy kept in millers' warehouses from 2003-05 in order to close the account.
The Foreign Trade Department has been tasked with setting a bidding criteria to ensure transparency.
Generally, the department sets a minimum price, but this time there is no price floor.
Mr Boonsong said the government wants to fetch high prices for its stocks, so it must release new, good-quality rice.
The rules do not need to be approved by the cabinet, but the National Rice Policy Committee chaired by the prime minister will approve the sale.
There are almost 17 million tonnes of paddy in the stocks or about 11 million tonnes of rice.
The government approved the sale of 700,000 tonnes of rice from March-June with three bidding sessions but no winners, as the prices were too low.
Yanyong Phuangrach, the commerce permanent secretary, said sales will be in lots to avoid affecting domestic prices.
"The government will try to manage the stock while maintaining the market price. It still hopes to sell at an average of US$700 a tonne," he said.
By Phusadee Arunmas
02 August 2012