For the first time in at least three decades, China has started importing rice from India. This is due to the scarcity of supplies from Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam and a sharp discount on the prices of Indian rice.
India is the world’s biggest exporter of rice. While China is the biggest importer of rice. Over a year, Beijing buys around 4 million tonnes of rice a year. They have, however, not made any purchase from India. China has said that the quality of the rice was the primary issue for them.
It is noteworthy that this development comes amidst the political tensions between the two nations. The border dispute between the two countries in the Himalayas has been a major issue. 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives over the border dispute in the Himalayas in June.
India has also hardened ruled for investments from China. Many Chinese apps are banned in India at the moment. These include apps from tech giants Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance.
Even though the public mood in India has been anti-China for some time, India has still carried on business with India.
B.V. Krishna Rao said, “For the first time China has made rice purchases. They may increase buying next year after seeing the quality of Indian crop”. Rao is the president of the Rice Exporters Association.
According to industry officials, Indian traders have agreed to export 100,000 tonnes of broken rice for Dec-February shipments. The rice will be sold at $300 per tonne on a free-on-board (FOB)basis, according to industry officials.
Traditional rice suppliers of China have limited surplus supplies
Indian rice traders have said that Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Pakistan were the traditional suppliers of China. They have restricted surplus supplies for export and were quoting $30 per tonne more when compared with Indian prices.
Thailand is the second-largest exporter of rice in the world and a key supplier to China. The country suffered a drought this year that affected the rice crop. Its shipments could fall to 6.5 million tonnes in 2020. This will be their lowest production of rice crop in the last 20 years.
Satyam Balajee’s executive director Himanshu Agarwal said that Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam were struggling due to limited supplies. “China eventually was left with no option but to buy from India,” he said. Satyam Balajee is the biggest exporter of rice in India.
He also added, “I don’t know how long it will last. At least, movement has started.”
As per Reuters, China’s General Administration of Customs has not responded to a fax seeking comments.
“China buying rice from India, or the U.S. or any country is just adding some flavor to the domestic market. The trade has a very limited impact on the China market,” said Yin Xiuying. Xiuying is an analyst with www.ChinaGrain.CN. It is a trade website based in Harbin, capital of China’s northeastern province of Heilongjiang.
Yin has also asserted that he doesn’t think China would increase rice imports or continue to buy more from India.