India and Thailand saw rice prices firmed on stronger local currencies, while prices weakened in Vietnam as the country entered its peak harvest season. There was a rise of $2 per tonne of India’s 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices from $373 to $378 a tonne this week, as gains in the rupee led exporters to raise prices. The rupee was trading at near its highest level in about 18 months. An exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh said, “In dollar terms we have raised prices due to a rising rupee. Our realisation in rupee terms is still down compared with last month.” India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East. Its rice production is likely to rise by 4.3 percent to a record high 108.86 million tonnes in 2016/17.
Prices of the benchmark 5-percent broken rice rose to $350-$365 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok from $350-$362 last week, as the baht appreciated against the U.S. dollar, but demand has been lackluster. “The baht keeps strengthening, but actual rice prices haven’t moved up that much,” said a Bangkok-based trader. The U.S. dollar to Thai baht FX spot rate was at 34.49 on Thursday, compared with the closing figure of 34.58 a week earlier. Although the Thai government held a state auction last week to offload spoiled rice for industrial use, the results have yet to be announced. But an exporter in Bangkok said, “Thai rice market has been quiet for the past three months. Nothing spectacular, just regular orders.”