In the year to date, Thailand has fallen to third place among the world's top rice exporting countries, exporting 5.2 million tonnes of rice compared to Vietnam's 5.9 million tonnes and India's 5.6 million tonnes, said Tikhumporn Natvaratat, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department.
Exporters have blamed the government's rice pledging scheme for a sharp drop in exports by 47% this year. But Mr Tikhumporn said Thai rice is being sold at higher prices than in the past, earning US$3.5 billion (108 billion baht) for its 5.2 million tonnes, while Vietnam received $4.45 billion and India fetched $2.99 billion.
He expects rice exports this year to reach 7.5 million tonnes, down from last year's 10.6 million tonnes.
The government has shipped out about 1.3-1.4 million tonnes of rice under government-to-government contracts, with exporters reporting sales of about 3.9 million tonnes as of Oct 18. Despite the decline in volume, Mr Tikhumporn said the country will continue to lead the market because India might experience a slowdown due to delivery problems while Vietnam is facing drought.