The eyes of all farmers and rice traders are now on the rice policy of the interim government, particularly on rice pledging and the disposal of rice stockpiles. Such policy moves will affect prices of rice both at home and exports sent abroad, thus would dictate the trend for the Thai rice trade in 2007. Rice importing countries are likely to be sidelined, pending the Thai government's announcement of their rice policy framework so that buyers can compare Thai prices with those of other rice exporting countries. The expected overhaul of the rice mortgage plan and efforts to gradually dispose of stockpiled rice into the market are likely to be a boon to Thailand's rice exports in the coming year. On the external front, global demand for rice – which is on the rise – will also be favorable to exports of Thai rice. Among the rice importing countries of particular interest are Iran, the Philippines, African countries – notably Ghana, and some Latin American countries, e.g., Brazil. Meanwhile, rivalry in rice export markets next year is unlikely to be very intense, given that Thailand's archrivals Vietnam, India and the US are now plagued with export-related problems. Against this backdrop, Thai rice exporters should adopt aggressive marketing strategies for the year to come.
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