It is also considering new regulations that would make it easier for a wider group of local traders to participate in government crop auctions. For instance, the government could separately allocate bidding lots for domestic consumption and export.
Chutima Bunyapraphasara, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, yesterday said the Cabinet had agreed to relax the bidding regulations in order to ensure that the government could release its stockpiles - and at higher offer prices.
"To sell maize and tapioca to foreign traders directly will facilitate the government in shortening the time for releasing the stockpiles, instead of having to manage them further during the bidding process," said Chutima, adding that the department would announce the trading date next week.
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the sale of only 20,202 tonnes of maize to 18 domestic traders, and cancelled the remaining 530,000 tonnes because of low offer prices from exporters.
The average buying price was quoted at Bt4.60 a kilogram, while the government's pledging price was Bt8.50.
The government will generate Bt97.8 million from the sale, but it will still lose almost Bt100 million as the selling price fell well short of covering its costs.
The government still has 981,748 tonnes of maize in its stockpile. Of this amount, it will allocate 200,000 tonnes for domestic purposes.
In addition, the Cabinet approved the sale of 643,699 tonnes of tapioca chips - from a total of 1 million tonnes - to 10 buyers, but failed to sell 800,000 tonnes of tapioca starch. The sale will generate up to Bt2.64 billion for the government.
Buyers offered prices that were too far below the market price, despite high demand, said Chutima.
The Commerce Ministry will continue to invite domestic traders and international traders to buy the remaining tapioca stockpiles of 2.7 million tonnes of chips and 818,000 tonnes of starch.
Chutima will fly to China next week to negotiate with the government on finalising a deal to buy tapioca starch under a government-to-government contract.
Meanwhile, 45 bidders have joined the Agriculture Future Exchange of Thailand's trading of 300,000 tonnes of jasmine rice.
Most of them offered prices below the current market price, which is Bt30,000 a tonne. Only a few bidders offered a higher price, by Bt500 to Bt1,500 a tonne.
CP Intertrade was the only firm offering to buy the whole stock, at Bt3,000 to Bt4,000 a tonne below the market price.
Yangyong Phuangrach, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the agency would announce the bidding results today after submitting a report to Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai.