Floods hamper rice harvest in major Asian hubs, hit supply

·2-min read
The annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony in central Bangkok

By Anjishnu Mondal

(Reuters) - Flooding slowed rice harvest in most Asian hubs this week, pushing up export prices for the Vietnamese variety and domestic rates in Bangladesh, while Thai traders warned of a risk to fresh supply.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices edged up to $485-$495 per tonne on Thursday from $485-$490 last week.

"Recent rains in the Mekong Delta has hampered an ongoing harvest there, affecting domestic supplies," said a trader in the Mekong province of An Giang.

Traders said that while demand has started to pick up, buyers from the Philippines haven't returned.

However, "rains have also affected quality of the autumn-winter harvest," a trader said, adding that domestic prices of fresh paddy from flooded farms have fallen due to poor quality.

Thailand's benchmark 5% broken rice prices fell to $435-$440 from $445-$480 last week, with traders attributing the dip to low demand.

But floods in some rice growing provinces could hit fresh supply expected in the next week weeks, traders said.

Heavy rains damaged ripening crops in Bangladesh as well, with widespread flooding also causing a spike in domestic prices, despite a government move to set wholesale rates.

Floods have damaged crops worth $4.29 billion in the country, even as a decision on imports was still pending.

In top exporter India, weak demand and a depreciation in the rupee pulled down prices of 5% broken parboiled rice to $372-$377 per tonne from last week's 376-$382.

"The flow of new orders has been moderating in last few days," said an exporter at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

But India's rice exports in 2020 might rise by nearly 42% from a year ago to a record 14 million tonnes because of reduced shipments from rival exporters and a weak rupee, industry officials said.

(Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; editing by Arpan Varghese and Rashmi Aich)

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