Asia rice: Thai prices slip as harvest peaks, demand thin

Thursday, 30 December 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Vietnam exports to stay high next year, but below record

Bangkok (Reuters): Thai rice prices eased this week on rising supply as its harvest peaked at a time of slow demand due to year-end holidays, traders said on Wednesday.

The benchmark 100 percent B grade white rice RI-THWHB-P1 slipped to $535 per tonne from last week’s $540, they said.

“The market is very quiet as everybody is in a holiday mood and buyers can wait a few weeks to see whether prices are going to fall further,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

Thai prices got some limited support from demand from Iraq, which bought some 30,000 tonnes of Thai rice in a recent tender.

Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporter, is harvesting its 2010/11 main crop, with 22.6 million tonnes of paddy expected to come onto the market. Traders said that would push prices down further.

In Vietnam, the second-biggest exporter, rice trade was also slow ahead of the year-end and the official floor price for its 5 percent broken grade rice was cut to $520 per tonne from $540.

However, the Vietnam Food Association has raised the floor price for its 25 percent broken rice to $490 a tonne from $480, anticipating a rise in demand early next year.

Exporters and industry officials said they were looking for fresh demand next year from South Korea, Japan and Bangladesh because India, in the past another big supplier, had maintained its ban on non-basmati rice exports.

Vietnam expects to export 6 million tonnes of rice in 2011, Chairman Truong Thanh Phong of the food association said in an interview published on Wednesday by an Agriculture Ministry newspaper.

Rice exports in 2010 rose an estimated 14.6 percent from last year to a record of 6.83 million tonnes, the government said on Tuesday.

Thai exporters are due to meet officials at the Ministry of Commerce to discuss the outlook for rice exports in 2011 and could forecast next year’s export target.