The export prices of Thai rice have fallen over the past four months but consumers have not been able to benefit because retail prices have continued to increase, lawmakers have been told. Between October last year and last month, Hong Kong imported 344,000 tonnes of rice, of which 88.7 per cent was from Thailand, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said in a written reply to Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee. Figures tabled in the Legislative Council show that although the export price of Thai fragrant rice fell by 18 per cent in the past four months, the import price - which includes freight and insurance - fell only 5 per cent, and retailers in fact charged nearly 5 per cent more. 'The net increase in [the] import prices and retail prices in local supermarkets in Hong Kong over the past year were smaller than the increase in export prices in the international market,' Mrs Lau said. Similarly for Thai white rice, although the export price fell by 12 per cent in the past four months, the import price and retail price rose by 13.7 and 1.74 per cent respectively. She said the government had not seen any unusual fluctuations in the import and retail prices of rice.