INDIA – Rice export prices from India have hit their highest level since April 2021, benefiting from firm demand, stretched supplies, and elevated rates in Thailand.

This comes at a time when supplies in India are also tightening after New Delhi decided to end its COVID-era free food program and replace it with a cheaper program.

 During this price surge, the 5% broken parboiled variety, which is the country’s top export, rose to a range of US$393- US$398 per tonne this week, up from last week’s range of US$387-US$395.

Amidst supply shortages, rice dealers have lamented the government’s move in purchasing unmilled rice from farmers saying that the action is limiting stocks for private export players.

“Government has made record purchases of unmilled rice from farmers this year. Limited amounts of supplies are available to private players for the exports,” a New-Delhi-based dealer with a global trade house said.

Conversely, Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices eased slightly to US$495 from US$500 per tonne.

The drop in Thailand’s 5% broken has been attributed to a slowdown in demand, but traders have placed the blame on the lack of supply and the strength of the local currency for keeping prices high.

However, according to traders, “the high cost of freighter has also contributed to muted supply and the rise in rice prices,” but “prices could change once new supplies enter the market at the beginning of March” said Bangkok-based traders.

In contrast, Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at US$445-$450 per tonne, free on board, unchanged from two weeks ago.

The constant price was ascribed to the resumption of trader’s rice purchases from farmers to prepare for new contracts, following the Lunar New Year holidays when most markets in Vietnam remained closed according to Ho Chi, Minh City-based traders.

However, Vietnam still records low export volumes considering its 400,000 tonnes exported in January, down 20.9% from a year earlier according to the government data released on Sunday.

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