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Thailand, Vietnam markets quiet ahead of Christmas, New Year

Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 18:04 GMT+7

Rice export prices in Vietnam widened this week while prices in Thailand were flat in a quiet market ahead of Christmas and New Year holidays, traders said on Wednesday.

Prices of Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 widened to $335-$350 a tonne, FOB basis, from $338-$340 a week earlier.

"The market is quiet and we have not seen any moves from Philippine firms, which have been given quota to import rice," said an exporter based in Ho Chi Minh city.

The Philippines' state grains agency approved permits for local rice traders to import 294,020 tonnes of the staple from Vietnam and 347,060 tonnes from Thailand, Pakistan and India.

"There are no buyers due to New Year holidays," said another trader.

Vietnam's rice exports are forecast to rebound to 7.1 million tonnes in 2017, after sales were seen dropping 22.6 percent from the previous year to 6.5 million tonnes this year, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in its December report.

The Thai market was also lacklustre with the benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 quoted at $360 a tonne on Wednesday, FOB basis, compared with $355-$360 last week.

"There won't be orders around this time until after the new year," a trader in Bangkok told Reuters.

Thailand has exported 9.3 million tonnes of rice, worth ($4.06 million), so far this year, mostly to China and countries in Africa, the country's commerce ministry said on Monday.

Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn had said earlier this month that rice exports would reach 10.5 million tonnes this year.

Meanwhile, rice prices in India, the world's biggest rice exporter, edged down due to rising supplies in physical markets from the summer sown crop, while an uptick in export demand put a floor under prices.

Prices of India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice dropped $1 per tonne this week to $343 to $347 per tonne.

"In eastern India, supplies have risen significantly over the last few days," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

"Exports demand has also improved a bit but still it is lower than normal," he said, adding that it might soften again due to Christmas holidays.

Trading in farm commodities such as cotton, rice and soybeans have been disrupted in the last few weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month scrapped 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee notes to crack down on corruption.

India's summer-sown rice output is seen at a record 93.88 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2017, 2.81 percent higher than last year, as plentiful monsoon rains help boost yields after back-to-back drought years, the farm ministry said.

India exported 10.34 million tonnes of rice in October 2015 to September 2016, according to data compiled by the farm ministry.

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