| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

India seen keeping rice export bans well into 2024, holding up global prices

The leading exporter of rice in the world, India, is anticipated to keep imposing restrictions on exports well into next year. This is likely to keep the price of the staple grain near the highest levels since the 2008 food crisis.

Over the past ten years, India has emerged as one of the world’s biggest shippers, accounting for about 40% of all shipments due to lower pricing and large stockpiles. Benin and Senegal are two of the top buying countries in Africa.

India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has tightened restrictions on rice exports to curb domestic price rises. Modi’s government imposed export duties, minimum prices, and restrictions on broken and non-basmati white rice varieties.

Prices surged to a 15-year high in August, prompting the most vulnerable importing nations to hold back purchases. Some sought waivers, but rice prices were still 24% higher than a year ago in October.

The government aims to ensure domestic supplies and control price increases, likely maintaining export restrictions until the upcoming elections. Global rice markets face additional pressure due to the potential impact of El Niño on crops.

The Philippines, Indonesia, and West Africa have experienced rising rice prices, impacting vulnerable populations. The US rice industry deems India’s export ban unnecessary, stating that India has sufficient stocks, and lifting the ban could distort world prices when it happens.

  • alarabiya