BANGKOK, THAILAND — Rice exports in Thailand are forecast to decline by 23% in the 2020-21 marketing year due to tight supplies of white paddy rice, according to a Nov. 10 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Thailand, a perennial global leader in rice exports, is projected to export 5.9 million tonnes this year, down from 7.5 million tonnes in 2019-20.

The USDA forecasts a 5% increase in rice production from the previous year to 18.6 million tonnes due to favorable weather conditions in main-crop rice production non-irrigated areas, which accounts for about 75% of the country’s rice acreage.

“The increased main-crop rice production in non-irrigated areas will likely more than offset the reduced rice production in irrigated areas where reservoirs are critically low,” the USDA said.

The increase in production has put downward pressure on main-crop rice prices. In October, prices of fragrant paddy rice fell to $383 per tonne, down 27% from the same period last year.