India rice export prices slide to multi-year low on supply influx

BENGALURU:Indian rice export prices fell to their lowest in nearly three years this week as fresh supplies from the summer-sown crop loom large, with subdued global demand also crimping exports from other major centres, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Top exporter India's 5 per cent broken parboiled variety was quoted around $358-$362 a tonne this week, the lowest since January 2017 and down from $363-$368 the previous week.

"Export demand is negligible. New-season supplies have started in a few southern states and could rise next month," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Paddy rice prices have been trading below the government-set purchase price of 1,835 rupees per 100kg in many spot markets because of weak export demand, he said.

Cyclone Bulbul soaked the eastern Indian states and major coastal areas of neighbouring Bangladesh this month, damaging paddy rice crop and delaying supplies.

"This won't have a big impact on overall rice output," said Mizanur Rahman, a senior official at the Department of Agriculture Extension.

Over the past few weeks domestic rice prices have risen in Bangladesh despite good crops and sufficient stocks. The country's Food Minister attributed the price increase to unscrupulous traders and said that stern measures would be taken against those found to be manipulating prices.

In Vietnam, meanwhile, rates for 5 per cent broken rice were steady at $345-$350 a tonne.

"Demand remained very weak," said a trader in Ho Chi Minh City. "No fresh deals have been clinched so far."

While the Philippines has decided not suspend rice imports, it will instead tighten food safety measures to control the entry of cheap grain that the government says is hurting incomes of local farmers.

"We are still very concerned about the Philippines' move given Philippines is the largest export market of Vietnam," another Ho Chi Minh trader said.

Traders said that preliminary data showed that about 181,000 tonnes of rice was scheduled to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City ports over Nov. 1-15, with most of the shipments bound for West Africa.

Thailand's benchmark 5 per cent broken rice prices were around $394-$410 a tonne on Thursday, versus $395-$409 last week, amid muted demand as a strong baht continues to push up export prices. The Thai government has stepped up efforts to open new markets for Thai rice, seeking deals with Iraq and Turkey, but traders say the prospect of sales remains slim because of the high prices and tougher competition.

"Overall export quantity has been reduced this year due to lack of global demand and high prices," a Bangkok-based trader said.

"There is also more competition from the likes of Myanmar as their export capability has increased this year."

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