Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thai rice hits new record

RICE prices in Thailand, the world's top exporter, surged to $1000 a tonne today as concerns about food security first triggered by a handful of Asian export bans spread as far as the United States.This week's five per cent jump takes prices to nearly three times their level at the start of the year, intensifying fears of social unrest in Asia as millions of the region's poor find themselves struggling to pay for staple goods.The surging price of fuel and food, which some analysts attribute to panic buying by both consumers and governments rather than a dire shortage of supply, has so far sparked riots in Africa and Haiti, but not Asia. Having started with India's imposition of export curbs to protect domestic supplies last year, the crisis was felt in the United States this week, with major retailers saying they had started to notice signs of panic buying. Sam's Club, a unit of retail giant Wal-Mart, said it was capping sales of 9kg bulk bags of rice at four bags per customer per visit to prevent hoarding. The previous day, rival Costco Wholesale Corp said it had seen increased demand for items such as rice and flour as customers, worried about global food shortages, stocked up. "Everywhere you see, there is some story about food shortages and hoarding and tightness of supplies," said Neauman Coleman, an analyst and rice broker in Brinkley, Arkansas.
ed note:->amazing Costco, Sam's Club capping sales in USA
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