Thailand to launch new rice bond next week, to uncertain demand
BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's state-backed farm bank will start book building for a 20 billion baht (S$767 million) bond next week to help meet payments to rice farmers, but with terms unchanged from a similar issue in November, appetite may be limited.
The government needs the money to pay farmers under a scheme where it buys rice at above market prices, a subsidy that boosted its popularity and helped it win a landslide in 2011 elections.
But the government has struggled to sell the rice, making it difficult to fund the scheme. Farmers who have not been paid since the subsidy was renewed in October have threatened to join anti-government protests.
Farmers blocked a highway in the northern province of Phichit on Tuesday to protest at late payments under the scheme. Some in neighbouring Phitsanulok have also protested.