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

By Reuters   January 2, 2021 | 07:30 pm PT
Vietnam rates hit 9-yr peak on supply crunch; Thai rates dip
Farmers harvest rice in the southern province of Soc Trang on March 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyet Nhi.
Dwindling supplies and continued Philippine buying lifted Vietnamese rice export prices to a fresh nine-year high this week.

Vietnam's 5 percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 prices edged up to $500-$505 per tonne 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 tonnes, according to preliminary data from the government. Rice export revenue this year climbed 9.3 percent to $3.07 billion.

Thailand's benchmark 5 percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 prices were quoted at $510-$516 per tonne on Thursday, slightly lower than $516-$520 per tonne 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 RI-INBKN5-P1 was quoted at $381-$387 per tonne 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 tonnes of rice from India’s NAFED, the New Delhi-based state agency, officials told Reuters.

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