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Commodities eye

Rice prices poised to climb as drought deepens

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A boy catches fish in a dried-up pond near the banks of the Ganges River in Allahabad, India, on June 4. The government says the country is headed for its first drought in six years.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- It is baking hot in the mid-afternoon just outside Laos' capital, Vientiane. Won, a local rice farmer, looks up at the cloudless sky. It should be humid and raining, but so far in June, this area close to the Mekong River, which separates Laos from Thailand, has only seen desultory showers every few days. Won has already planted rice on her 6 hectares of paddies, but just down the road other fields lay fallow, waiting for regular downpours that the rice crops need.

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