KARACHI: The dollar’s relentless surge against rupee is turning out to be a boon for rice merchants, but a bane for the consumer.
The prices for different rice varieties have seen an unusual jump of late as exporters and hoarders try to cash in on the rupee’s slide.
Retailers said that the prices of almost all varieties of rice have been continuously climbing up and in the last few days, the prices have gone up by Rs25 per kg as exports have been in full swing to various destinations in the last 10 months.
Premium basmati sells not less than Rs270-280 per kg while good quality basmati hovers between Rs200-250 per kg. High quality saila basmati is also tagged at Rs230 per kg, they said, adding “these are the highest prices in the local markets.”
Country’s total rice exports fetched $2 billion in just 10MFY22 with shipment of four million tonnes versus $1.75bn through export of 3.190m tonnes, up by 27 per cent in quantity and 17pc in value. In FY21, total rice exports were 3.69m tonnes that earned $2bn.
The share of basmati rice was 632,407 tonnes fetching $574m as compared to 508,869 tonnes valuing $470m, showing a rise of 24pc in quantity and 22pc in value.
With 27pc in quantities and 15pc in value, other varieties of rice exports surged to 3.41mn tonnes amounting to $1.47bn as against 2.681m tonnes earning $1.28bn.
Abdul Rahim Janoo, former chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), said foreign buyers were diverting towards Pakistani rice after high rates of Indian rice, thus keeping up demand of Pakistani rice, while massive rupee devaluation against the dollar is making exports more feasible.
He said that reports that one dollar value would hit Rs200 in near future have lured market players and hoarders to pile up stocks to get higher export earnings on losing strength of the rupee against the greenback.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022