Export prices of rice from Vietnam touched their lowest level in four months this week as sales dipped, while nearby India and Thailand also witnessed a slowdown in demand moving into the year-end holidays.
Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $395-$400 per tonne, the weakest levels since the week of Aug. 26, versus $395-$405 per tonne a week earlier.
"Sales are slow due to the holidays," said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City, adding that "domestic supplies are running low and won't start to build up until the winter-spring harvest from February."
Rice exports in 2021 from Vietnam were forecast to drop 0.5% to 6.2 million tonnes, with revenue from rice exports expected to rise 5% to $3.3 billion.
Thailand's 5% broken rice prices slightly narrowed to $387-$396 per tonne from $385-$396 last week.
Traders said demand had been flat due to the lull of the market during the holiday period.
A Bangkok-based trader said prices may go up after the new year holidays, on the back of domestic demand and exporters wanting to buy rice due to the current low prices.
Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety rates held steady at $355-$360 per tonne, unchanged from last week as demand was subdued due to holidays.
"Overseas buyers have taken a pause because of year-end holiday. Inquiries have fallen sharply," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Domestic rates for the staple in neighbouring Bangladesh were high despite good crops and hefty imports, hitting consumers.
Officials attributed the high prices to hoarding by middlemen to create artificial crisis to make windfall profits.