Indian rice export prices rose to their highest levels since April 2021 this week boosted by limited supplies and a stronger rupee, while firm local currency and demand sent Thai rates higher.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $387-$395 per tonne this week, up from last week’s $375-$382 per tonne.

White rice prices rose to $435-$440 per tonne from $398-$405 per tonne a week ago.

The Indian rupee rose to a one-month high this week, trimming exporters’ returns from overseas sales.

Demand is weak as local prices jumped after the government curtailed free-food grain distribution, said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, an exporter.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice was quoted at $500-$502 per tonne - the highest since March 2021 - up from $495 per tonne last week, which traders attributed to the strengthening of the baht and robust domestic demand.

A stronger baht translates to higher export prices in U.S. dollars.

Asia rice: strong baht, demand props up Thai export prices

“Many rice traders and buyers are now adopting a wait-and-see approach to the market due to the strong baht,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

Thailand cut its rice export target for 2023 to 7.5 million tonnes from 8 million tonnes, largely due to the high prices of rice that continue to hit a record level in nearly two years this week, the president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association said.

Traders said rice supply has been decreasing and the market is expecting new supply to enter the market from off-season crop by later next month and in March.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $445-$450 per tonne, unchanged from a week ago.

“Trade remains quiet until at least after the Lunar New Year holiday,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City and that “supplies are low and won’t improve until next month when the winter-spring harvest begins.”

Vietnam exported 226,000 tonnes of rice valued at $114.7 million in the first half of January, according to customs data.

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