MUMBAI/ HANOI/ BANGKOK,/DHAKA: Prices of rice exported from Thailand this week rose to their highest since early June on the back of increasing shipments and a stronger baht, while cheaper rates for the staple in India kept orders rolling in.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $452-$460 per tonne, up from a $425-$457 range last week.

“There is more demand from Asian countries now, while African countries are more interested in rice from India,” said one Bangkok-based trader.

There was news that supply could soon tighten so exporters were buying to stock up, said another trader.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety edged higher to $374-$380 per tonne, from last week’s $373-$378, on a slight improvement in demand, although rising supplies from the new season crop capped the upside.

“December’s second half usually remains quiet but this year few sellers got export orders since Indian rice is cheaper than other destinations,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Traders said Cuba was buying more rice from India, with a vessel being loaded with 28,150 tonnes at Kakinada Port for delivery.

Neighbouring Bangladesh was in talks with India to buy a total of 200,000 tonnes of rice in government-to-government deals, officials said, as it seeks to build reserves to cool domestic prices of the grain. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $448-$453 per tonne, unchanged from a week ago, when rates reached their highest level since July last year.

“Demand for Vietnamese rice remains steady, especially from top buyer, the Philippines,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City.

Preliminary shipping data showed 167,650 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in the Dec. 1-28 period, with most of it heading to the Philippines and Indonesia.

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