June 25, 2020 / 12:55 PM / 2 months ago

Asia Rice-Quality concerns hit Vietnam rates; India's demand improves

* Vietnamese prices may fall further in coming weeks-traders

* Thai rates firm on supply crunch, stronger baht

* Indian rates at $373-$378/tonne vs last week’s $366-$372

By Eileen Soreng

BENGALURU, June 25 (Reuters) - Vietnamese rice export prices eased this week, hurt by falling purchases and quality concerns as the harvest progresses, while India rates rose from an over two-month low hit last week as demand picked up from Africa.

In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 slipped to a range of $405-$450 per tonne on Thursday from $450 per tonne a week earlier.

The winter-spring rice is offered at $450 per tonne, while the ongoing summer-autumn harvest is being offered at $405-$410 per tonne, traders said.

“The quality of the summer-autumn rice is low due to heavy rains during the harvest,” a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang said, adding the harvest is expected to last till end-July.

Adding further pressure on the rates was weak demand from foreign buyers and cheaper Indian rice, traders said, adding prices may fall further over the coming weeks.

Top exporter India’s 5 percent broken parboiled variety RI-INBKN5-P1 was quoted $373-$378 per tonne this week, up from last week’s $366-$372.

Rising cases of coronavirus have prompted some buyers in Africa to raise purchases, an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh said.

Thailand’s benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 prices were quoted at $514-$520 on Thursday, versus last week’s $505-$525.

Thai export rates have been high mainly due to drought-induced low supply and a stronger Thai baht, while demand has been muted, traders said.

“Concerns over supply persist in the market which is likely to continue until August, when new crops are expected,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

In Bangladesh domestic rice prices gained this week, which market insiders blamed on stockpiling by traders and millers. Medium quality rice was being sold at around 50 taka ($0.5896) a kilogram.

Panic buying driven by the coronavirus outbreak had boosted domestic rice prices to a two-year high in April. ($1 = 84.8000 taka) (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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