China Warns On Extensive Flood Damage To Thai Rice Crop
November 7, 2011 • 8:56AM

China's People's Daily, in a headline story, says "Thai floods may push up global rice prices." The Thai agricultural department has already indicated that Thai rice output for the current crop will drop from 25 million metric tons to 19 million. But, additionally, "The floods may also make the rice yield of the second quarter drop by 7 million tons because much seed rice was washed away in the floods."

Thailand accounts for about 30 percent of the world's rice exports, so "There is no doubt that rice supplies in Southeast Asia will be influenced by the floods in Thailand, which may cause further rising food prices... Analysts indicated that the underproduction of rice in Thailand due to floods will heighten Asian countries' concern with inflation and increase the pressure on them to fight it."

Fortunately, rice-dependent South and East Asian countries are self-sufficient, or nearly so, in rice. Africa is, however, a major rice importer.

Within Thailand, there will not be a shortage of rice, but supplies of "garden crops," and animal feed stocks have been affected by the floods. Malaysia to the South has reported shortages of, and an price increase in, chilies—a vital ingredient in South East Asian meals.