- "A couple of ships have arrived from Africa this month to pick up rice," a Bangkok-based trader said.
Indian rice export prices dropped to their lowest since mid-November this week on increased supplies after the central government released stocks to help poor people adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Top exporter India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted at $371 to $376 per tonne this week, versus last week's $374 to $379 range.
"Supplies are going up as Food Corporation of India is releasing stocks from its warehouses," said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The world's second-most populous country has posted record daily infections and deaths as the virus has spread from cities to villages.
Neighbouring Bangladesh approved a tender to buy 50,000 tonnes of rice from India via railways for the first time as the government battles to shore up dwindling reserves.
"The rice will be supplied through the railways from India for the first time so that it can be imported in the shortest possible time," Shahida Akhter, a senior Bangladeshi government official, said.
Vietnam's 5% broken rice rose to $490-$495 a tonne on Thursday from a range of $485-$490 a week earlier.
"Prices have risen following news that importers are placing orders for Vietnamese rice, including buyers from South Korea," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that supplies are thin.
"The winter-spring harvest is almost over, while supplies from Cambodia are disrupted due to the coronavirus outbreak there," the trader said.
In Thailand, prices for 5% broken rice narrowed to $475-$485 per tonne from $470-$500 a week ago.
Demand from some African buyers was pushing exporters to secure supply for shipment, according to traders who quoted slightly higher prices than last week.
"A couple of ships have arrived from Africa this month to pick up rice," a Bangkok-based trader said.
Other traders cited muted demand among their customers.