Export prices of rice from Thailand jumped to their highest in more than two months this week on growing orders and depleting supplies as the harvest season nears end, while rates in top exporter India fell for a second week to mid-January lows.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $490-$495 per tonne, their highest since the week to Feb. 3. Last week, they were quoted at $480 per tonne.

Traders attributed the rise in Thai rates to exchange rate fluctuations, an increase in orders from Indonesia, and dwindling supplies.

Indonesia bought some 500,000 tonnes of rice, supporting prices, a Bangkok-based trader said.

Thailand’s rice exports in the first quarter of 2023 were at 2.06 million tonnes, up 18.48% from a year earlier, the Commerce Ministry said on Monday.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $378-$382 per tonne this week, down from last week’s $382-$388 range, and hitting their lowest since Jan. 13.

Asia rice: Vietnam rates at two-year highs stoke demand concerns

Demand is sluggish and prices are coming down, said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, a leading rice exporter in India.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $495-$500 per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from a week ago, when they matched levels last seen in April 2021.

“Supplies are getting thinner as the main harvest of the year has ended,” a trader based in the Mekong Delta An Giang province said, adding that the next harvest would arrive at the end of May or early June.

Traders, however, increased purchases from farmers in anticipation of higher demand from foreign markets.

Vietnam exported 2.37 million tonnes of rice this year, as of April 15, up 33.7% from a year earlier, according to the country’s Food Association.

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