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Thailand Reaping Food Export Windfall With Protectionism Rising

  • Increased rice, sugar and chicken shipments forecast this year
  • Baht’s descent to five-year low gives nation competitive edge
Rice grain is deposited into a truck trailer from a combine harvester during the harvesting of a rice field in Saraburi Province, Thailand.

Rice grain is deposited into a truck trailer from a combine harvester during the harvesting of a rice field in Saraburi Province, Thailand.

Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg

Thailand -- a major exporter of sugar, chickens and rice -- looks set to benefit as many of its Asian neighbors limit shipments of agricultural commodities to shelter consumers from surging prices.

In recent days, Malaysia has banned poultry exports and India has taken steps to keep more of its sugar at home. The rising food protectionism and price rallies are welcome news for Thai producers that are enjoying strong harvests this year after back-to-back droughts. The baht’s decline to a five-year low earlier this month is also making the country’s shipments relatively cheaper.