Asia Rice-India rates dip as demand slows, Bangladesh to review export ban
* Thai market loses out to cheaper rates in India, Vietnam-
* Vietnam prices flat for fifth straight week
By Harshith Aranya
BENGALURU, April 18 (Reuters) - Asian rice exporting hubs
saw tepid activity this week, with prices for the staple from
top exporter India dipping on lower demand, while Bangladesh
mulled a review of its ban on exports of the grain.
India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1>
was quoted around $377-$380 per tonne, down from last week's
Demand from African buyers was weak as they have ample
inventories, said Nitin Gupta, vice president, rice business at
Aggressive selling of old inventories by China at lower
prices has also weighing on prices, he added.
The country's rice exports for April-February dropped 9.4
percent from a year earlier to 10.57 million tonnes, as leading
buyer Bangladesh trimmed its purchases due to a bumper local
harvest, a government body said.
On Thursday, Bangladesh's commerce minister said a
long-standing ban on rice exports will be discussed after strong
pleas from traders to lift the restriction.
"If we have surplus, we can allow rice exports," Tipu Munshi
told reporters after a meeting with the rice traders
Bangladesh, traditionally the world's fourth biggest rice
producer, banned overseas shipments of some common rice
varieties in May 2008 following a spike in domestic prices. It
banned all rice exports a year later.
In 2017, the country was forced to massively increase imports
to shore up domestic reserves after floods wrought havoc on
local crops and pushed domestic rice prices to record highs, but
domestic stocks have since greatly improved.
In Thailand, the world's second-largest exporter, the
benchmark 5-percent broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices eased
slightly to $393-$411 a tonne, free on board Bangkok, from
$405-$410 last week.
"Overseas buyers have turned to rice from India and Vietnam
because their prices have been more competitive compared to
ours," a trader said.
However, concerns over domestic supply in the country have
kept prices steady recently, traders said.
"The harvest of the last crop was completed last month and
there is no new supply except unsold rice from the mills, this
meant prices remain stable with a tendency to rise even though
there is no demand," a Bangkok-based rice trader said.
Rates for Vietnam's 5 percent broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1>
stood flat for a fifth week at $360 a tonne, as supply begins to
wane, traders said.
However, prices were still at their highest since
mid-January, with traders hoping for fresh demand from China.
(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok, Khanh Vu in Hanoi,
Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, additional
reporting by Diptendu Lahiri; editing by Arpan Varghese and
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