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Markets

India rates snap losing streak on strong rupee, Thai prices dip

  • India rates still cheaper than other exporters.
  • Thai rates at 6-1/2 month low on weak overseas demand.
  • Vietnam prices unchanged at $490-$495 a tonne.
  • Bangladesh output seen rising 3.5% in year to April- USDA.
20 May 2021

Indian rice export prices rose for the first time in seven weeks on a stronger rupee, while poor demand pushed Thai rates to a more than six-month low.

Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $379 to $385 per tonne this week, up from last week's $370-$374 range.

Indian rice prices are gradually being raised due to the appreciation in the rupee, but it is still cheaper than other destinations, an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh said.

Recently, Indian export prices had been pressured by the release of government stocks to help the poor in a country tackling a COVID-19 surge.

Neighboring Bangladesh's rice production is expected to rise 3.5% to 35.8 million tonnes in the year to April from the corresponding period last year, due to higher acreage and yields, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

Speculation in the market and consumers stocking rice due to the pandemic and associated lockdowns have strengthened domestic demand, driving up market prices.

Bangladesh, traditionally the world's third biggest producer, has emerged as a major buyer after repeated floods last year destroyed crops and sent local prices to record highs.

Meanwhile, Thailand's 5% broken rice prices widened to $454-$475 per tonne - the lowest since the first week of November 2020 - from $465-$473 last week.

Traders cited a lack of overseas demand, while there were no concerns about supply.

Thailand exported 1.13 million tonnes of rice in the first three months of 2021, a 23% drop from the same period a year ago, worth around $695 million, Thai customs data showed.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice stayed unchanged for a second week at $490-$495 a tonne on Thursday.

"Sales remain slow this week on weak demand," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

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