Vietnam prices gain on Philippine orders; India rates dip

September 28, 2018 - 9:23 AM
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Rice being sold in the Philippine market. (The STAR/File photo)

BENGALURU — Vietnamese rice export prices rose this week on increased demand from the Philippines and elsewhere while rates for rice from top exporter India fell on expectations for a bumper summer-sown crop and a weak rupee.

In Vietnam, traders offered 5 percent broken rice at $400-$405 a tonne, slightly higher than the $395-$405 a week earlier, as supplies fell and demand rose.

“We are seeing (a) rising demand from the Philippines and other markets,” a Ho Chi Minh City trader said, adding that prices may rise further in the coming weeks because of tight supply.

The Philippines on Monday decided to ramp up its rice imports before the end of the year, announcing a decision to purchase 500,000 tonnes in addition to the 250,000 tonnes it planned to buy via an open tender.

That increasing demand is expected to boost export prices of the Philippines‘ main suppliers, Vietnam and Thailand.

Iraq also purchased at least 60,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam in a direct deal without an international tender being issued, traders in Europe and the Middle East said.

“Supplies will improve later next month when the mini autumn-winter harvest begins,” the Ho Chi Minh trader said. However, the output is expected to be half the size of the summer-autumn harvest.

Rates for India’s 5 percent broken parboiled rice dipped by $3 to $370-$374 a tonne.

Demand for the new-season crop is not robust, said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

“(The) falling rupee is making deals at lower prices possible,” the exporter said.

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An investor looks at a computer screen displaying live market data. (Reuters/File photo)

The Indian rupee has weakened by nearly 12 percent in 2018 and touched a record low this month, increasing exporters margins.

Meanwhile, neighboring Bangladesh could import as much as 700,000 tonnes in the year to June 2019, said a senior official at the state grains buyer.

Last year Bangladesh’s Boro rice crop, which accounts for more than half of the country’s typical annual rice production, fell to its lowest in seven years after floods destroyed crops.

“We are keeping a budget for imports of 700,000 tonnes of rice as a precaution, just in case natural disasters destroy crops again this year,” the official said.

Thailand’s benchmark 5 percent broken rice was quoted at $395–398 a tonne free on board (FOB) Bangkok, versus $390-$393 last week.

Traders attributed the increase to a strengthening of the Thai baht against the U.S. dollar, noting that demand for its rice was relatively flat.

Thailand’s government on Wednesday said it had sold 100,000 tonnes of rice to China in the first such sale since March. — Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok, Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai and Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by David Goodman