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China's rice imports won't endanger world food security: ministry


14:52, January 26, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- China's rising rice imports last year will not alter the supply-and-demand balance in the domestic rice market or threaten global food security, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday.

China's rice imports more than quadrupled from the previous year to reach 2.32 million tonnes in 2012, marking the largest amount of such imports since 2000, the latest customs data showed.

Because the imports only accounted for a small share of international rice trade, as well as domestic production and consumption, they will not have an obvious impact on the global grain market or affect the domestic rice market, said a statement issued by the ministry.

China's rice imports accounted for 6.2 percent of global rice trade and 1.6 percent of domestic rice output last year, the ministry's figures showed.

Just 7.7 percent of global rice output was traded last year, according to data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Meanwhile, China's grain output rose for the ninth consecutive year last year, with rice output up 1.6 percent year on year, which has contributed toward making rice supplies generally sufficient, according to the statement.

The ministry said China's rice imports, which used to be dominated by Thai rice favored by high-end consumers, increased last year, as domestic flour and wine makers have turned to overseas markets for cheaper rice.

Rice prices in China started to outpace those in Vietnam and Pakistan last year due to a stronger yuan and steady price hikes in the domestic market, it said.

Customs data showed that 66.7 percent of China's rice imports were from Vietnam, 25 percent from Pakistan and 7.6 percent from Thailand last year, respectively.

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