Rice export prices in top producer India fell this week to their lowest in 21 months, pressured by tepid demand and an expected bumper crop, while hopes of deals with Philippines propped up rates in Vietnam.
India’s 5 per cent broken parboiled variety was quoted around $361-$367 a tonne, the lowest level since January 2017, down from $365-$370 last week.
‘In two weeks new-season supply will become available. Traders are not sure about prices since the government has raised the support price (for farmers),’ said one exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Production of summer-sown rice is estimated to grow 1.8 per cent to 99.24 million tonnes.
In July, the Indian government raised the prices paid to local farmers for common-grade paddy rice by 13 per cent from a year ago to 1,750 rupees ($25.50) per 100 kg for the year.
The higher government-fixed price, which would entail increased procurement costs for exporters, was unlikely to translate into higher export rates because of a weaker rupee, traders said.
The Indian rupee fell to a record low of 74.48 against the dollar this month, increasing exporters’ margin.
Output in neighbouring Bangladesh, meanwhile, could rise by 6 per cent from a year ago to about 34.54 million tonnes in 2018/19, according to the US Department of Agriculture attache in Bangladesh.
‘The prior market year’s production shortfall forced farmers to recover their loss through expansion in cultivated area of the three rice-producing seasons this year,’ it said in a report.
Bangladesh first emerged as a major importer in 2017 after floods damaged its crops
In Vietnam, rates for benchmark 5 per cent broken rice rose to $410-$415 from $405-$410 a tonne last week, supported by higher demand from traders and concern over lower domestic supply.
‘Exporters are increasing their purchases from local farmers in anticipation of more government-to-government deals with the Philippines,’ one Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.
However, activity was muted because prices were comparatively higher than those offered by other major exporters, the trader added.
Farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces, Vietnam’s rice bowl, have started sowing the winter-spring crop but forecasts of lower rainfall in the next two months have raised concerns of a drought, traders said.
In Thailand, rates for 5 per cent broken rice slipped to $400-$402 a tonne free on board (FOB) Bangkok, from $405–$407 last week, on the lack of fresh demand. Traders added that some exporters have stopped purchases in expectation of a further dip in prices.
‘There will be more supply of seasonal rice from the middle of November until December, and this could impact prices going forward,’ a Bangkok-based rice trader said.
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