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Asia Rice: Some buyers for cheaper India offers, trade muted in other hubs

Demand for rice from India picked up slightly this week as buyers opted for the relatively cheaper offers from the top exporter, while elevated rates dampened activity in Vietnam and Thailand.

“Buyers have started making purchases. Indian rice is cheaper even after paying 20% exports duty,” said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trade house.

India in August imposed the duty on parboiled rice, effective until Oct. 15.

Despite improved demand from countries in Asia and Africa, prices for India’s 5% broken parboiled variety RI-INBKN5-P1 were quoted at $525-$535 per metric ton, unchanged for a third straight week.

Neighboring Bangladesh aimed to harvest 17 million tonnes of rice this year, up from 14 million tonnes last year, a senior official at the agriculture ministry said, offering some relief amid volatility in the global market.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 was offered at $610-$620 per metric ton, unchanged from last week.

“The market appears to be stable after the recent volatilities triggered by Indian ban in July,” a Ho Chi Minh city-based trader said.

Current prices are good enough for farmers to make profit, but activity is quiet as traders are waiting for the market to settle further, the trader added.

Preliminary data showed 294,100 metric tons of rice to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port during Sept. 1-29, with most heading to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Turkey.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices widened to $590-$607 per metric ton from $605 last week, with traders attributing the fluctuation to changes in the exchange rates.

The baht slumped to its lowest in over 10 months, over concerns on the country’s fiscal outlook.

Buyers have slowed buying because of the high prices, a Bangkok-based trader said.

Another trader said new supply entering the market in October could cause prices to ease further.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok, and Ruma Paul in Bangladesh; editing by Arpan Varghese and Maju Samuel)

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