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No disruption in Singapore's rice supply from India

Indian government on Thursday imposed a 20 per cent export duty on non-basmati rice
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PTI   |   Singapore   |   Published 14.09.22, 02:54 PM

Singapore's rice imports from Vietnam and Thailand are healthy and the country has not faced any significant disruption in importing rice from India, but the prices may go up as New Delhi has imposed a 20 per cent levy on exports of non-basmati varieties and banned the export of broken rice, according to a media report on Wednesday.

The Indian government on Thursday imposed a 20 per cent export duty on non-basmati rice except for parboiled rice to boost domestic supplies amid a fall in area under the paddy crop in the current Kharif season.


After that, it also banned the export of broken rice with an aim to increase domestic availability.

Export Policy of broken rice is amended from Free' to Prohibited', the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification dated September 8, 2022.

The notification came into effect on September 9, 2022.

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry here noted that India recently imposed a 20 per cent levy on rice exports of key varieties like unmilled and husk brown rice, and banned the export of broken rice, of which consumption in Singapore is low.

Singapore's rice imports from countries, such as Vietnam and Thailand, are still healthy, reported The Straits Times.

In addition, the nation's Rice Stockpile Scheme has helped it mitigate the impact of any supply disruptions or price fluctuations.

The ministry added that the government will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that Singapore has sufficient supply of rice.

Singapore imported rice worth Singapore dollars (SGD) 59.8 million (USD 42.6 million) from India in 2020, whereas from Vietnam it imported rice worth USD 40 million and USD 87.5 million from Thailand, the report said, citing data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Under the Rice Stockpile Scheme, rice importers are required to hold an inventory buffer equivalent to two times their average monthly imports, according to a written parliamentary reply by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong in July.

The Rice Stockpile Scheme helps to ensure an adequate supply of rice in the market and maintain the stability of prices during periods of uncertainty and supply shortages.

However, some businesses are set to increase their prices owing to India's export duty and ban on some varieties.

Mustafa Centre, one of the largest Indian-origin retailers which sources most of its rice products from India, will mark up the prices of affected products by 20 per cent when it receives its latest shipment.

"There is no issue for the supply of rice, only the price will be affected," Mustafa Centre's purchasing manager Mohd Saleem was quoted in the report as saying.

V. Rama Murthy of Chennai Trading and Supermarket, added that his regular bulk-order customers, mostly caterers who provide food for migrant workers, are now hesitant to buy from him.

He is passing on the price increase to his customers by hiking the prices of all types of rice, except basmati, by Singapore dollars 5 for a 25kg bag from Wednesday. "Customers are confused and upset at the uncertain situation, and are hesitant to buy in bulk now due to the increase in prices," he said, adding that he expects his income to be affected in the long run.

On the other hand, Catering Solutions will not raise prices for its cooked meals for now, even though it upped its rate earlier this year owing to Malaysia's chicken export ban.

Instead, the company which uses five tonnes of rice daily in its meals for foreign workers in the construction, petroleum and marine industries aims to implement price increases gradually, said its director S Mahenthiran.

"Prices tend to go up during certain seasons and fall during other seasons. But this time round, it is a bit different, prices have remained high. Furthermore, the Indian government introduced an export tax on rice, which took effect on September 9. This further inflated the price of rice," he said.

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