Asia Rice-India Prices Rebound Vietnam Sees Uptick In Demand

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By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

BENGALURU, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Indian rice export prices rebounded this week from three-year lows as exporters increased rates to compensate for a rising rupee, while low supply and an uptick in demand from Cuba, Iraq and Philippines pushed up Vietnamese rates.

Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted around $358-$363 per tonne this week, up from last week's $356-$361, which was the lowest since January 2017.

The appreciation in the rupee has been forcing traders to raise prices, but demand is still subdued, genesisblock.one said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian rupee on Thursday rose to its highest level in more than a month, trimming exporters' margin from overseas sales.

India's rice exports in October fell 42% year-on-year to 485,898 tonnes, government data showed, due to weak demand from African countries for non-basmati rice.

In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> were quoted at $350 a tonne on Thursday, up slightly from $345 last week.

"Supply has run very low now as the harvest has ended while demand from exporters to fulfil shipments to Cuba and Iraq is still high," said a trader in Ho Chi Minh City, adding demand from Philippines had also been picking up in the past two weeks.

Another trader said local supplies would increase from late next month when the winter-spring harvest begins.

Meanwhile, prices of 5% broken Thai rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> were little changed at $397-$411 a tonne on Thursday versus $397-$410 the week before.

"We were expecting the price to drop with new supply this month but prices have not changed much," a Bangkok-based trader said.

Prices for the Thai variety have been high relative to competitors throughout the year, largely due to the strength of the local currency.

"I have not been able to sell any for more than two months now because of the high prices," another trader in Bangkok said.

"My usual customers say they have been buying from Vietnam and Myanmar. Rice from those countries are of similar quality to ours and more importantly, their rice is cheaper."

Bangladesh, the world's fourth largest rice producer, could face severe damage to its growth in agricultural output due to climate change and rising sea-levels, the World Bank said in a report this week.

The country produces around 35 million tonnes of rice annually.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi and Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok; editing by Arpan Varghese and Jane Merriman)