Virus slows Indian rice exports; heavy flooding hits Bangladesh

India’s rice export prices rose this week as the worsening coronavirus crisis in the country caused logistical snags, while widespread flooding in Bangladesh severely damaged crops.

India’s 5-per cent broken parboiled variety was quoted at $380-$385 per tonne this week, up from last week’s $377-$382 per tonne.

Rice exporters in India are struggling to fulfil orders due to limited availability of containers and workers at mills and the biggest handling port Kakinada on the east coast.

Rice loadings have slowed down as the Kakinada port could load around 8,000 tonnes of rice a day for only five vessels, with others forced to wait in anchorage, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, heavy floods have submerged nearly 50,000 hectares of paddy fields, the country’s agriculture ministry officials said.

Thailand’s benchmark 5-per cent broken rice prices rose to $465-$483 on Thursday, from $450$482 quoted last week.

Traders say prices increased slightly as the baht strengthened against the U.S. dollar.

“The market is expecting a new batch of off-season rice next month, and if the output is good then the prices could drop… but at the moment, supply remains a concern,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

In Vietnam, rates for 5-per cent broken rice stayed unchanged from a week earlier in the $440-$450 per tonne range.

“Domestic paddy price, however, has risen significantly over the recent days as traders are hoarding the grain in anticipation of higher prices due to the return of Covid-19 to Vietnam,” a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang province said.

“Exporting activities are quiet this week because many traders hesitate to sign new export contracts, fearing they cannot purchase enough rice to fulfil the contracts,” the trader added.

Rice exports in the first seven months of 2020 from Vietnam were forecast to drop 1.4% from a year earlier, government data released on Wednesday showed.

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