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Asia Rice: Indian Rice Prices Ease, Thai Rates Slip on Currency Weakness

Indian rice price

In the dynamic landscape of Asia's rice markets, recent fluctuations have seen India's prices finally relent from record highs, while Thai rates experience a slip attributed to a weakening baht. These developments mark significant shifts in the region's rice trade dynamics.


India, known as the top exporter in the global rice market, saw its 5% broken parboiled variety quoted at $548-$555 per metric ton this week, a welcome retreat from the previous week's lofty $552-$560 figures. This adjustment comes as buyers, particularly from African markets, sought more affordable deals amidst hesitancy at current price levels.


However, the decrease in Indian rice exports isn't solely driven by buyer reluctance. Traders are encountering hurdles in signing new contracts after customs officials recalibrated the calculation method for the 20% export duty, leading to a higher levy. This bureaucratic shift has undoubtedly impacted the export landscape, potentially influencing future pricing dynamics.


In contrast, Thailand's 5% broken rice was quoted at $615 per ton, a notable decline from the $620 to $622 range reported just a week ago. The primary factor contributing to this downtrend is the weakening of the baht, coupled with intensified competition from neighboring Vietnam. As Vietnamese exporters aggressively price their product, Thai exporters are compelled to adjust rates downward to maintain competitiveness in the market.


Although there is some demand emanating from markets like Indonesia and the Philippines, significant deals are yet to materialize, according to a trader based in Bangkok. This subdued demand is reflective of a cautious market sentiment, despite a steady supply situation, as highlighted by another Bangkok-based trader.


Meanwhile, Vietnam's 5% broken rice recorded a slight uptick, being offered at $585 per ton, up from $580 in the preceding week. This increase is attributed to a rise in domestic paddy prices, driven by heightened purchases from exporters and processors.


Preliminary shipping data underscores Vietnam's active participation in the market, with 450,250 tons of rice set to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in March. The majority of this rice is destined for key markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia, indicating sustained regional trade activity.


As Asia's rice markets navigate through these fluctuations, stakeholders remain attentive to currency dynamics, supply trends, and evolving trade policies, all of which shape the intricate fabric of one of the world's most essential commodities.

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