February 20, 2017, 4:44 pm
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Thailand, Vietnam rice markets quiet

MUMBAI/BANGKOK- Rice prices in India rose on a revival in demand from African and Asian buyers while markets in Thailand and Vietnam remained quiet, traders said on Wednesday.

India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, saw its 5-percent broken parboiled rice  quoted at $346-$350 per ton this week, up from $341-$345 last Wednesday.

The rise in prices came as demand from African buyers improved, said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

“African buyers were making good purchases after a long time,” he said, adding there was also some demand from Asia.

India mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East.

Domestic buyers also started returning to the market, helping raise prices despite ample supply which cut prices last week, a Mumbai-based exporter said.

“Good export and domestic demand is offsetting impact of rising supplies,” he added.

India’s summer-sown rice output is seen at a record 93.88 million tons in the crop year to June 2017, 2.81 percent higher than last year. 

In Thailand, prices of 5-percent broken rice  rose slightly to $360-$365 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from $355-$360 last week.

“There is some small demand from Iraq and Singapore,” a trader in Bangkok said.

“The market is otherwise quiet.”

Thailand, which exported 9.63 million tons of rice in 2016, aims to increase exports to 10 million tons this year. 

The country will also curb paddy rice production at 25 million to 26 million tons for the 2017-18 crop year in a bid to prevent an oversupply of the grain which could dent prices.

Thailand will begin auctioning about 8 million tons of rice from government stockpiles in the first quarter this year and aim to clear the stocks by the end of this year. 

Vietnam’s market remained subdued though its 5-percent broken rice  was quoted at $345-$350 a ton, FOB Saigon, slightly higher than a week earlier when buyers were bidding at around $335 a tonne.

“Since the New Year holiday until now, there’s no order at all,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is expected to export 5.8 million tons of rice in 2017, up 7.4 percent from a year earlier, according to a December report by USDA.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s second and third biggest rice exporters after India. - Reuters
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