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Iran makes first Thai rice buy in 10 years

Staff Writer |
Iran purchased about 40,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand in an international tender, a deal which traders say shows Iran's purchasing is returning to more normal patterns now that sanctions have been lifted.

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Thai authorities announced in late January that they had secured a deal to sell rice to Iran for the first time in 10 years, with delivery of 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes of white rice due over the next one to two months. About 300,000 tonnes in shipments would be made in total, they said.

Traders said Iran in past years largely purchased rice through lengthy direct negotiations as western sanctions imposed over the country's disputed nuclear programme had curtailed international payments via banks.

"I think this sale in a tender shows Iran is starting to return to more traditional purchasing patterns after the relaxation of western sanctions," one European trader said on Friday. "The sale was made by a US multinational trading house."

The Iranian state grains buyer GTC bought Hom Mali grade A rice from Thailand at about €600 ($645) a tonne, they said. Prices had been sought in euros in the tender that closed on March 14.

The rice was for shipment between April 15 and May 15 to Bandar Imam Khomeini or Bandar Abbas ports.

Asia Golden Rice Co said in January that it had reached an agreement to sell rice to the Iranian government after Iran’s Health and Medical Education Ministry inspected the company's operations late last year.

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