Fresh Indonesian purchases failed to lift Asian rice prices this week as overall demand remained thin and supply plentiful, traders said on Wednesday. “The recent 300,000 tonne Indonesian order seemed too small to help support Vietnamese prices as offers for Vietnamese grades slipped,” said a trader.
Indonesia Last week bought 400,000 tonnes of rice, of which 300,000 tonnes was from Vietnam and the rest from India. Vietnamese 5 percent broken rice eased to $450-$455 a tonne, free on board at Saigon Port, from last week”s $455-$460. The 25 percent broken grain dropped to $420-$425 a tonne FOB, from $425-$430. Other major buyers such as China remained on the sidelines, although some African buyers approached Pakistan, where the 5 percent broken grain was offered as low as $425 a tonne, said a trader in Ho Chi Minh City. “Demand by trading firms is not around due to the higher prices here,” another trader in Vietnam said. Even in India, trading remained thin although the window of overseas sales remained open, traders said. Indian common rice varieties were quoted at $385-$445 per tonne FOB, almost the same as last week in the absence of major export deals.
Traders said huge inventories would continue to weigh on prices. On October 1, India”s rice stocks at government warehouses were 23.4 million tonnes against a target of 5.2 million tonnes. “Indian rice supplies continue to be the growth driver in the global rice market,” s aid a trader in India. Thai export prices were steady – and well above those of rivals – even though supply was rising because the government”s intervention scheme and seasonal domestic demand provided support, traders said. The benchmark 100 percent B grade Thai white rice was steady at $570 per tonne, while the 5 broken grade was unchanged at $560 per tonne.
“There was demand from domestic rice retailers that helped support prices at a time when supply is peaking,” said a Bangkok-based trader. Overseas demand for Thai rice remained weak as its prices were around $100 per tonne higher than those in India and Vietnam.