Asia Rice: India loses out on some orders as prices near 2-month high

  • Exporters in Hanoi face worker shortages
  • No buyers for Thai rice even as rain aids crop: trader
Published September 16, 2021

Rice export prices in India climbed to their highest level in nearly two months this week on the back of an appreciating rupee, but demand was tepid as buyers chose cheaper varieties elsewhere.

India's 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $360 to $365 per tonne this week - the highest since late-July on average - up from last week's $358-$363 range.

The rupee has gained about 0.7% since the beginning of the month, trimming returns for exporters and thereby prompting them to raise prices in dollar terms.

"Some buyers are moving to Myanmar and Pakistan, which are also offering rice at competitive prices," said an exporter based in Kakinada in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

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Yet, India could account for as much as 45% of global rice exports in 2021, as expanded port-handling capacity allows the world's second largest rice grower after China to ship record volumes to buyers across Africa and Asia.

Prices for Vietnam's 5% broken rice variety rose to $410-$420 per tonne from $400 per tonne a week earlier, as demand picked up.

Supplies from Vietnam, however, were still facing hurdles due to container shortages and pandemic-led movement restrictions, a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang said.

"Many exporters are facing worker shortages to handle their rice transport and shipments," the trader added.

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Vietnam's rice exports in August were up 7.4% from the previous month at 499,033 tonnes, according to government customs data.

Meanwhile, Thailand's 5% broken rice prices eased to $380-$393 per tonne on Thursday, from $380-$402 per tonne a week ago.

Bangkok-based traders said the market remained quiet amid high freight costs.

"There is good supply because of rain, but there are no buyers," a trader said.

"The government should roll out some measures to support rice farmers and exporters."


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