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Strong rice demand from Asia, Africa lift Indian prices

CNA – Export prices of rice from India rose this week on increasing demand from Asia and Africa, while dwindling supplies of the staple lifted Vietnamese rates.

Top exporter India’s five-per-cent broken parboiled variety was quoted at USD363 to USD367 per tonne, up from last week’s USD361 to USD365, with prices also being supported by an appreciation in the rupee.

“Demand for all types of rice is robust from Asia and Africa,” said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

Generally, a stronger rupee reduces traders’ margin from overseas sales.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, domestic prices remained high, which officials blamed on hoarding and warned of strict action against those amassing the staple for windfall profits.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s five-per-cent broken rice was offered at USD420 per tonne on May 5, up from USD415 a week ago.

“Prices are edging up on tight supplies as the winter-spring harvest has come to an end,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that supplies would increase after the summer-autumn harvest in late-May.

Vietnam’s rice exports in the first four months of the year likely rose 4.4 per cent from a year earlier to 2.05 million tonnes, while revenue from rice exports in the period fell six per cent from a year earlier.

Thailand’s five per cent broken rice prices were quoted at USD435 to USD445 per tonne on Thursday, an increase from USD432 to USD435 last week.

“There has been more demand from Iraq, with many freighters sent to buy rice and this drove up prices,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

Labourers move a cart loaded with rice bags at a food processing unit in India. PHOTO: CNA