December 19, 2019 / 1:46 PM / in 2 months

India rice export rates gain as demand picks up

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian rice export prices extended gains this week as demand ticked up and paddy prices on the local market rose, while demand for Thai rice was still being hurt by cheaper competitors.

FILE PHOTO: A worker packs a sack filled with rice on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad February 27, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Top exporter India’s 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted around $360-$365 per tonne this week, up from last week’s $358-$363.

“Paddy rice prices have been rising as farmers are demanding the minimum support price,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

New Delhi earlier this year raised the paddy rice purchase price by 3.7% to 1,815 rupees per 100 kg for the 2019/20 crop.

Demand for the Indian rice has been fairly subdued of late, with export rates near multi-year lows. Rice exports in October fell 42% year-on-year to 485,898 tonnes, government data showed, due to weak demand from African countries for non-basmati rice.

Demand has been dull for Thailand’s exports too, with prices throughout the year significantly higher than those from main competitor Vietnam, largely due to a strong local currency.

“Prices are already low for us, but still not low enough to compete with Vietnam,” said one Bangkok-based trader.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice was quoted at $395-$420 a tonne, on a free on board basis, compared with $397-$411 last week.

Farmers are harvesting new season rice and exporters hope the new supply could help lower prices in the near future.

In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice were quoted at $350-$352 a tonne on Thursday, compared with $350 a week earlier.

“Demand from the Philippines is increasing, but domestic supplies are running low,” a trader based in An Giang province said.

“We expect prices to edge up further until supplies from the winter-spring crop are available from late January and early February,” he said.

In Bangladesh, the rain-fed rice output or Aman crop is expected to exceed the 14 million tonne target for this year, helped by favourable weather, a senior official at the agriculture ministry said.

Aman, the second biggest rice crop after summer variety Boro, makes up just under 40% of Bangladesh’s total rice production of around 35 million tonnes.

Fears that Cyclone Bulbul that ripped through coastal areas of Bangladesh and eastern India last month could cause havoc, were unfounded, the official added.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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