Prices of Thai and Vietnamese rice continue to rise sharply as the corona virus spreads, raising supply concerns

Thai 5% broken rice price increased from US $ 470 – 505 / ton last week to US $ 480 – 505 / ton this week, the highest price since August 2013. This is also the 5th consecutive week of increasing prices of Thai rice. Traders said the market was worried that the shortage of supply due to the persistent drought was the main factor pushing rice prices up. “Some millers are hoarding rice due to fears of lack of food when the corona virus outbreak is getting worse,” said a rice trader in Bangkok. “There is currently no demand for orders due to high prices and the supply is increasingly meager so I think rice prices will continue to rise.” Domestic demand for some types of rice, such as jasmine rice increased slightly because consumers fear the spread of corona virus, the trader said.

In Vietnam, 5% broken rice prices increased to 410 USD / ton, the highest level since November 2018, compared to 400 – 405 USD / ton last week. “Domestic supplies are at low levels and exporters have difficulty securing the amount of rice to be delivered under contracts,” said a trader in Ho Chi Minh City. “Farmers are stopping selling due to fears that the corona virus will last”. Basic export data shows that from March 1 to 25, there were 195,400 tons of rice loaded at the port of Ho Chi Minh City, most of which was directed to Malaysia, West Africa and Cuba. The Vietnamese government announced in the middle of the week that it would guarantee an annual rice output of 22 million tons.

In India, rice export prices were stable, reaching near the lowest level in 2 months due to slight improvement in export demand, which kept the Rupee from falling to a record low. Prices of 5% broken parboiled rice are offered at US $ 363 – 367 / ton, unchanged from the previous week. The Indian Rupee traded near a record low in the middle of the week, helping to increase the profit margins of rice exporters. Domestic broken rice prices may be flat in the coming weeks due to lower demand from the poultry industry, said Nitin Gupta, Olam India's vice president of rice business. Sales of chicken business have plummeted due to rumors that chicken is the agent of corona virus.

Domestic rice prices also increased by 5% in Bangladesh due to fears of the corona virus sparking a wave of hoarding. Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder called on people not to panic because the government stored enough grain for emergencies.

According to Reuters

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