Rice traders hit by panic as prices surge
By Javier Blas in
Financial Times of
Published: April 18 2008
prices hit the $1,000-a-tonne level for the first time as panicking importers
yesterday scrambled to secure supplies, exacerbating the tightness already
provoked by export restrictions in
jump came as the
unsuccessful tender followed
Traders and analysts warned that rice demand was escalating in spite of prices rising to three times the level of a year ago as countries try to build up stocks.
Vichai Sriprasert, president of Riceland International, a leading rice exporter in Bangkok, said several of its customers, including governments, were buying far more than they usually did amid fears about scarcity.
"It is panic," he said. "My customers are demanding double the usual volume. We do not have enough supplies for all the demand we are facing."
Michael Whitehead, a rice specialist at
rice prices have triggered riots in the past month in countries such as
Ajith Nivard Cabraal,
"Food is something which without we cannot live," he said. "Social consequences could be very adverse."
In an effort to maintain social peace through low local prices, governments have stepped up their purchases.
That strength boosted indicative quotes for Thai
medium-quality rice, the global benchmark, to a range of $950-$1,000 a tonne, traders said. In
But Anthony Lam, of Golden Resources, the largest rice