Thailand sells rice to China for first time in six months

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BANGKOK, Sept 26 – Thailand’s government on Wednesday said it had sold 100,000 tonnes of rice to China, the first such sale since March.

Chinese state-owned food trader COFCO had halted purchases over the last few months due to ample rice supply in the country.

Thailand had previously supplied 500,000 tonnes of rice to China as part of a pledged government-to-government deal for 1 million tonnes of the grain struck in 2015.

The latest purchase of the 5-percent grade of white rice will be shipped next month, supporting local prices, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said in a statement.

“This is also a positive sign that the Chinese market’s demand for Thai rice has returned and China might order more rice in 2018,” he said.

Thailand has exported 8.22 million tonnes of rice so far in 2018, almost 3 percent higher than a year earlier. That amount is worth around 134 billion baht ($4.13 billion).

Thailand aims to export 11 million tonnes of rice this year. ($1 = 32.4400 baht) (Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Panarat Thepgumpanat Editing by Joseph Radford)

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