Export prices of rice from Thailand touched their highest level in nearly three months this week as traders anticipate increased overseas buying, while a stronger rupee and tight supplies boosted rates in top exporter India.
Thailand's 5% broken rice prices rose to $390-$402 per tonne, their highest since mid-October, versus $387-$396 last week.
Bangkok-based traders said they expect more demand from the overseas market this year and that some exporters have started to build stockpiles in anticipation.
India's 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $359-$363 per tonne this week, its highest level since Nov. 11, up from the last week's $355-$360.
"Demand is not robust but still prices are moving higher because of an appreciating rupee," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
A stronger rupee trims traders' margins from overseas sales.
In neighbouring Bangladesh, summer rice crop in 2021 edged up 1.22% to 19.89 million tonnes from a year earlier but was 1 million tonnes short of the target, according to the country's agriculture ministry.
Summer-sown rice crop, locally known as Boro, contributes to more than half of Bangladesh's typical annual rice output of around 35 million tonnes.
Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $395-$400 per tonne, its weakest level since the week of Aug. 26 last year, unchanged from a week earlier.
"Trading activity is warming up again after the holidays," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.
"Domestic prices are edging up due to tight supplies," said another trader in the city. "Many exporters are increasing their purchases from farmers to fulfil the export contracts they have signed earlier."