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China To Export 1M MT Rice In 2005;Lower Imports
China will remain a net rice exporter in 2005, expecting to ship around 1 million metric tons overseas, thanks to improving domestic rice output, a senior official at a Hong Kong-based rice company said Wednesday.

The Chinese government has been encouraging farmers to grow rice which has resulted in higher rice acreage and yields this year, and this will also be the case next year, Anthony Lam, regional general manager at Golden Resources Group told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the World Rice Commerce 2004, an industry gathering being held in Bangkok.

Golden Resources operates rice milling, trading and distribution. It runs three mills in China and one each in Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Rice industry officials are watching whether China will become a net importer from next year as the giant country has increased rice imports sharply this year.

China has imported 490,000 metric tons of rice in the first eight months in 2004, around 91% higher than in the same period last year, Lam said

. "(But) China will definitely remain a net exporter...they will keep on exporting to countries, including those with high market prices like Japan, Korea and Hong Kong," Lam said.

China's exports this year will be less than 1 million tons, compared with around 2.59 million tons it exported in 2003, according to Lam.

During January to August, China exported 762,267 tons of rice, Lam said.

China is an exporter of medium to low quality rice and an importer of premium grade Thai Jasmine fragrant rice. However, this year, it has also imported medium and low quality rice.

Although drought has been affecting rice growing areas in southern provinces of China, namely Guangdong, Guangxi and Jiangsu, the effect on the overall Chinese rice production will be limited, Lam said, adding that these three provinces account for a minor portion of the country's total rice production.

Lam said China's rice imports will be smaller in 2005 compared with this year, following improving supply. The country has an ample stock of about 40 million tons of rice and won't be desperate for imports, he said.

Lam declined to give a 2005 import figure for China.
MGR Archive 18.11.2004
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