India rates hit three-month low, supply woes loom for Vietnam

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A worker collects boiled rice to spread it for drying at a rice mill on the outskirts of Kolkata

(Reuters) -India's rice export rates dropped to their lowest in three months on Thursday hit by subdued demand from buyers in Africa, while Vietnamese traders expected falling domestic supplies to cap a further decline in prices.

Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $354 to $360 per tonne this week, their lowest since mid-August, down from $359 to $364 a week earlier.

"Buyers are postponing purchases since prices have been falling for the past few weeks. They are expecting a further drop in the prices," said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

Prices for Vietnam's 5% broken rice edged down to $425-$430 per tonne from $430-$435 per tonne a week earlier.

"The prices fell following the decline in prices of rice from other exporting countries, including India and Pakistan," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

However, falling domestic supplies are likely to prevent a further decline in prices over the coming weeks, with the next harvest expected only in late February or early March, the trader added.

Thailand's 5% broken rice prices rose to $385-$395 per tonne from $377-$383 last week, driven by the strengthening of the baht against the U.S. dollar, and an uptick in the demand after prices fell in the previous week to a level last seen in Oct. 2017.

High logistics costs, which have impacted Thailand's overall export sector, have also hurt rice sales, traders said.

"Demand has gradually improved due to the drop in prices last week but the shipping cost is still high which has deterred deals," a Bangkok-based trader said.

(Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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