May 4, 2017 / 6:25 AM / 3 months ago

Asia Rice-Prices up on thin supply in India, Thailand

3 Min Read

* Indian rice up on stronger rupee, higher local paddy prices

* Prices edge up in Thailand on thin supply

* Vietnam's market quiet amid low post-holiday demand

By My Pham

HANOI, May 4 (Reuters) - Rice prices rose on thin supply in India and as exporters in Thailand rushed to fill orders amid a slow off-season harvest, while Vietnam markets were quiet after a three-day holiday.

India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice RI-INBKN5-P1 rose by $7 per tonne to $394 to $399 a tonne this week as local paddy prices rose due to thin supply.

"The government agencies are actively buying paddy ... Supply is very limited for private players. This has pushed up paddy prices. Accordingly we have to raise rice export prices," said M. Adishankar, executive director at Sri Lalitha, an exporter based in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian government buys rice from local farmers at a fixed price for subsidised food inventories and to meet any emergency needs such as a sudden spike in prices.

"The strengthening rupee is also making us uncompetitive," said another rice exporter based in Kakinada.

The rupee has gained around 6 percent so far in 2017 and is trading near its highest in 21 months. A strong rupee means exporters need to charge more for their overseas shipments.

India, the world's top rice exporter, mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East.

Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 rose to $380-$390 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, this week from $360-$3775 last week, on exporters' rush to fill shipments amid a slow off-season harvest.

"It looks like exporters are scrambling to fulfil large orders previously received, and now market supply is also running low," a Bangkok-based trader said.

As long as exporters are still taking care of their orders, prices could be rising steadily, another trader in Bangkok said.

Thailand has exported 3.87 million tonnes of rice this year through April 26, a 12 percent jump from the same period last year, according to the latest figures by the commerce ministry.

Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 edged up to $350-$352 a tonne, FOB Saigon, from $350 last week, with traders citing a quiet market after national public holidays on Monday and Tuesday.

Vietnam has shipped an estimated 1.84 million tonnes of the grain between January and April, down 8.8 percent from the same period last year, the government said on Friday.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world's second and third-biggest rice exporters. (Reporting by My Pham in HANOI; Additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in BANGKOK; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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