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Asia rice - Vietnam rates hit 9-yr peak on supply crunch; Thai rates dip

Friday, January 01, 2021, 11:05 GMT+7
Asia rice - Vietnam rates hit 9-yr peak on supply crunch; Thai rates dip
Men load rice bags to a ship for export at a rice processing factory in Vietnam's southern Mekong delta, Vietnam July 6, 2017. Photo: Reuters

Dwindling supplies and continued Philippine buying lifted Vietnamese rice export prices to a fresh nine-year high this week, while rates in Thailand dipped from a multi-month peak as high prices cooled demand.

Vietnam's 5 percent broken rice prices edged up to $500-$505 per metric ton on Thursday – the highest since December 2011 – from $500 a week ago, on thin domestic supplies.

Buyers from the Philippines are still purchasing, but with small volumes, a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that "trading activity has been slow this week due to the holidays."

Vietnam's rice exports in 2020 were forecast to have fallen 3.5 percent to 6.15 million metric tons, according to preliminary data from the government.

Rice export revenue this year climbed 9.3% to $3.07 billion.

Thailand's benchmark 5 percent broken rice prices were quoted at $510-$516 per metric ton on Thursday, slightly lower than $516-$520 per metric ton quoted last week. 

Traders said demand for Thai rice has been relatively flat due to high prices.

"The supply level has been quite low so that drove up the price and the strong baht does not help the situation as demand is already weak," a Bangkok-based trader said.

In top rice exporter India, the 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted at $381-$387 per metric ton this week, unchanged from last week, as firm demand from Asian and African countries persisted.

"Demand is good from all corners," said Nitin Gupta, vice president for the India rice business at Olam.

Bangladesh's food minister said the country is slashing its rice import duty to 25 percent from 62.5 percent and allowing private traders to import rice up to a certain level, aiming to bolster reserves and dent record prices.

The government is also finalizing a purchase of 150,000 metric tons of rice from India's NAFED, the New Delhi-based state agency, officials told Reuters.


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