Rice export prices in Thailand were flat this festive season of Christmas and New Year while prices in Vietnam widened this week. The prices of Vietnam’s 5-percent broken rice widened to $335-$350 a tonne, FOB basis, from $338-$340 a week earlier. “The market is quiet and we have not seen any moves from Philippine firms, which have been given quota to import rice,” said an exporter based in Ho Chi Minh City. The Philippines’ state grains agency approved permits for local rice traders to import 294,020 tonnes of the staple from Vietnam and 347,060 tonnes from Thailand, Pakistan and India. “There are no buyers due to New Year holidays,” said another trader. Vietnam’s rice exports are forecast to rebound to 7.1 million tonnes in 2017, after sales were seen dropping 22.6 percent from the previous year to 6.5 million tonnes this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said in its December report.
The Thai market was also lackluster with the benchmark 5-percent broken rice quoted at $360 a tonne on Wednesday, FOB basis, compared with $355-$360 last week. “There won’t be orders around this time until after the new year,” told a trader in Bangkok. Thailand has exported 9.3 million tonnes of rice, worth ($4.06 million), so far this year, mostly to China and countries in Africa, the country’s commerce ministry said on Monday. Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn had said earlier this month that rice exports would reach 10.5 million tonnes this year.
Meanwhile, rice prices in India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, edged down due to rising supplies in physical markets from the summer sown crop, while an uptick in export demand put a floor under prices. In India’s 5 percent broken parboiled rice dropped by $1 per tonne this week. “In eastern India, supplies have risen significantly over the last few days,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. “Exports demand has also improved a bit but still it is lower than normal,” he said, adding that it might soften again due to Christmas holidays. India exported 10.34 million tonnes of rice in October 2015 to September 2016, according to data compiled by the farm ministry.