Rice imports soar amid high domestic prices

The country’s rice import value has increased to about $229.59 million during the first nine months of the fiscal year 2013-14 (July 2013 – June 2014), up nearly fourteen times from about $15.81 million recorded during the same period in FY 2012-13, according to a report released by the Bank of Bangladesh (BB).
According to data from Food Ministry, Bangladesh imported around 374,560 tons rice as of May 19, 2014, of which around 371,500 tons are imported by private sector and only 3,060 tons are imported by the government. Bangladesh imported 28,930 tons rice in FY 2012-13 (25,270 tons by private sector and 3,660 tons by the government).
pariza rice paniclerice
A BB official told local media sources that declining global rice prices, an increase in domestic prices and an appreciation of Bangladeshi Taka against the U.S. dollar are main reason behind the surge in rice import value.
The BB report noted that the retail prices of coarse rice varieties in Bangladesh hovered between Tk 38 – Tk 40 per kilogram (around $483 – $508 per ton), while the average international prices are at around $393 per ton, encouraging rice imports.
Based on the amount of Letters of Credits (LCs) opened, the BB official noted that the rice import value is expected to increase further over the last three months of the fiscal year. The BB data showed that the LCs opened for rice during the first nine months of FY 2013-14 increased to $287.22 million, up about fourteen times from about $20 million LCs opened during the same period last year.
USDA estimates Bangladesh will produce around 34.59 million tons rice in MY 2013-14 (May 2013 – April 2014), up about 2% from about 33.82 million tons produced in MY 2012-13. It estimates Bangladesh’s imports will increase to about 400,000 tons in 2014, nearly 12 times over 35,000 imported in 2013.