India’s rice prices have been rapidly trending up since November 2020. The price of Indian 5% broken white rice rose by 6.4% to USD 415/MT on the eight weeks to 17th March, driven by robust demand, particularly from Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is expected to import 350,000 tonnes from the top three major Asian rice exporters, including 150,000 tonnes from India and Thailand and 50,000 tonnes from Vietnam, according to the Government of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is traditionally a large rice producer but has recently emerged as a significant buyer due to reduced supply following repeated floods in the country.
Meanwhile, the February average price of Vietnamese 5% broken white rice rose to USD 500/MT, the highest level since December 2011. Strong demand from buyers in other Asian countries and Africa has supported Vietnamese prices. According to market participants, prices are expected to continue to rise in the short term as global demand for the grain remains robust amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On the other hand, Thailand’s 5% broken rice has been on a downward trend since mid-February dropping to a three-month low of USD 501.3/MT on 17th March, driven by a sharp depreciation of the Thai Baht against the US Dollar at the beginning of the month and reduced export demand. According to the Thai Rice Exporters Association, Thailand’s rice exports dropped by 24.5% y-o-y to 5.7 million tonnes in 2020, the lowest in seven years.