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Export prices of rice from Thailand rose this week, helped by demand from the Middle East and South Asia, while rates for the staple from top exporter India eased on a weaker rupee.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $422-$435 per tonne from $420-$435 a week ago.

“There is new demand from Bangladesh of 200,000-300,000 tonnes and deliveries to Iraq,” said a Bangkok-based trader.

Another trader said there was demand coming in from Iran, but only a few Thai companies had the goods manufacture practice (GMP) requirements to service that market.

India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $376 to $384 per tonne, down from $385-$392 last week, amid the rupee’s dive, and expectations of more supply following the government’s decision to extend a free food programme for the poor.

The rupee touched a record low on Sept. 28, increasing traders’ margin from overseas sales and allowing them to reduce export rates.

Asia rice: India rates near 1-1/2 year high as traders grapple with port logjams

“A few traders were expecting the government won’t continue free food beyond September. But with the government distribution for another three months, the market would be oversupplied,” said an exporter at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, India’s recent restrictions on exports seemed to drive expectations of more demand from other hubs such as Vietnam.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $420-$425 per tonne from $400-$410 a week ago, with traders also attributing the gain to the end of the summer-autumn harvest.

However, “though prices are higher, not many new deals have been signed recently as buyers remain quiet while sellers are still waiting for further price hike,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Preliminary data showed 37,400 tonnes of rice to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port on Oct. 1-9, with most of it bound to the Philippines and Bangladesh.

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