Floods affect international rice supplies


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has already expressed concern about international rice exports, saying that trade in 2012 could fall significantly, driven by lower rice exports from the flood-hit country. Much of international rice supplies come mainly from Thailand and India. In a statement, the agency said that the trade volume next year “could fall to 33.8 million tonnes, from 34.3 million forecast for this year.”

Similarly, just this week the world’s largest chipmaker Intel issued a warning that its fourth-quarter revenues would miss forecasts because of a shortage of hard disk drives. About one-third of the world’s hard-disk drive production is located in Thailand.

Intel said that severe flooding hit around Thai hard disk drive factories, “which caused collateral damage to the supply of components, and consequently meaning that computer makers are anticipating cuts in production as they are unable to complete PCs.”

According to Thailand’s Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP), the gross domestic product (GDP) of SMEs is expected to grow only 1.4-2.5 per cent this year, a significant slide from the earlier forecast of 4-5 per cent because of the devastating floods.

The agency estimates that 550,000 small businesses were affected by floods, adding that 102,000 were in the manufacturing sector, 264,000 in the retail and wholesale sector, 163,000 in the service sector and the rest in construction. It also revealed that direct and indirect damages from the floods for SMEs are estimated at 71.1 billion baht a month, with 2.32 million jobs affected.

“At the moment most of the affected areas in Bangkok and the central region have seen flood waters receding and businesses have returned to normal operations,” Chalermpol said, while assuring visitors the country was now safe to visit.

“In any case, almost all the key tourist destinations and attractions in Thailand, like Phuket and Pattaya, were unaffected by the flooding,” he added.