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Indian rice export rates ease as supply picks up

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

By Nakul Iyer

(Reuters) - Rice export rates in top exporter India eased this week as supplies rose, while neighbouring Bangladesh considered allowing higher imports by private traders as domestic rates continued to soar.

Prices for India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety eased to $393-$399 per tonne from $395-$401 last week.

"Export demand is stable. New season supplies are rising in southern and eastern states," said an exporter based at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh state.

Shipments from India have picked up after Andhra Pradesh started using a deepwater port to export rice to reduce congestion at the Kakinada port.

The country's rice output is expected to increase to 120.32 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2021.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, could allow private traders to import more rice in a bid to tame rising domestic rates, a senior official at the food ministry told Reuters.

So far this year, private traders have been allowed to import 1 million tonnes while the government is buying another 1 million tonnes.

Thailand's benchmark 5% broken rice prices eased to $520-$560 per tonne from last week's $540-$560.

Some Bangkok-based traders said prices had started to ease slightly due to optimism over the new off-season harvest.

"There's not much demand. New supply is gradually arriving. It's likely that prices will continue to weaken," a trader said.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice rates were unchanged at $505-$510 per tonne for delivery after March 15.

Supplies were building up with around a quarter of the winter-spring crop in the Mekong Delta already harvested, traders said.

"We've seen Chinese traders coming to explore rice for shipments to China and other markets, but not many orders have been placed as they are still waiting for the harvest to peak," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Vietnam's rice exports in February are forecast to have halved from a year earlier, according to the government.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok and Ruma Paul in Dhaka; editing by Arpan Varghese and David Evans)