Rice Exporters Eye Cartel to Boost Prices

Southeast Asia’s rice-exporting nations are in talks to create a formal alliance aimed at boosting prices and increasing export revenues, a move that could cause tensions with rice-importing nations. But any bid by the five countries to drive up prices will be a challenge, given previous failures to cooperate. The latest effort comes as rice prices have barely moved this year, even as prices for wheat, corn and soybeans have climbed because of droughts in several exporting nations. An alliance of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will aim to share information and cooperate in production and marketing, with the goal of increasing rice export prices, Yanyong Phuangrach, Thailand’s permanent secretary for commerce said in Bangkok Wednesday. The aim is to form the alliance by the end of the year, he added.