India’s Rice Export Ban May Spike Prices To Decade-High In Some Regions: Report

India's Rice Export Ban May Spike Prices To Decade-High In Some Regions: Report


Following a ban on the export of non-Basmati rice by India, images of empty shelves and panic buying of rice in the US have been circulating on social media. Reports of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the US bringing home dozens of rice bags and departmental stores putting up signs of “Only one rice bag per family” has been circulating.

Amid such a situation, a Bloomberg report on Tuesday suggested that the prices of rice are expected to surge in the short term, with concerns about it reaching decades high in some regions. India is a major export of rice. However, due to fear of domestic shortage and price rise, the country on July 20 prohibited the export of non-Basmati white rice, by amending the previous “free” export policy.

This decision came into immediate effect, as per the notification by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). Major destinations of India’s non-basmati white rice exports include Thailand, Italy, Spain, Sri Lanka, and the USA.

Previously, in September 2022, India banned broken rice exports and imposed a 20 per cent duty on non-basmati rice, which was later lifted in November of the same year.

However, according to the Bloomberg report on Tuesday, the ban this time comes amid other concerns affecting global food supplies, such as the El Niño weather pattern, soaring temperatures in Europe, and Russian attacks on Ukrainian export facilities.

Combined with Vietnam, another significant rice exporter, offering supplies of its 5% white rice at $600 per ton has prompted fears of a similar move by Thailand. India, Vietnam, and Thailand are the top three rice exports of the world. 

According to the report, if Thailand were to adopt the pricing hike, it would result in their rice prices reaching the highest level since 2012. Presently, Thai rice is priced at $534 per ton, which is already near a two-year high.

However, India still allowed rice export on the basis of permission granted by the government to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of their governments. According to the report, this ban will impact exports to China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and a host of African nations.

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Many NRIs and other people from the Indian diaspora took to social media to show the panic buying situation in the US. Many also reported empty shelves at the stores. 

“Only one rice bag per family” read notices put up by stores. 


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