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Rice prices at 9-month high in Vietnam, stable in Thailand
[HANOI] Vietnamese rice prices jumped this week to a nine-month high as exporters prepared loading for the Philippines and Indonesia amid potential fresh demand from Manila, while Thai rice prices were unchanged, traders said on Wednesday.
The price hike in Vietnam, the world's third-largest rice exporter after India and Thailand, started last month after it won a Philippine tender to supply 450,000 tonnes. Prices jumped again on Indonesia's 1-million-tonne demand.
Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice rose to US$370-US$300 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Saigon Port, from US$355-US$360 last Wednesday, while Thai 5-per cent broken grain stood unchanged at US$360-US$365 a tonne, FOB basis.
The recent jump in Vietnam rice prices could force buyers such as China towards Thailand and Pakistan, where prices are lower, traders said. "If anyone wants to buy now, rice is not ready," a Vietnamese trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Despite a small harvest has been underway in the Mekong Delta, supply has become tight and Vietnamese exporters have stopped offering the 25-per cent broken rice often sought by the Philippines, traders said.
Indicative prices of the variety stood at US$365 a tonne, up from US$335-US$345 a week ago.
Traders said prices in Vietnam might ease in late February or early March, when fresh supplies arrive from the next crop's harvest in the Mekong Detla.
In Thailand a stable currency and a lack of buyers have kept stable the export quotations for the 5-per cent broken rice in the past two weeks, which have risen from US$360 a tonne in early October, traders said.
But Thai rice prices could advance if Thailand reaches any agreement to sell the grain to Indonesia, traders said. "If there is a successful agreement, prices will probably go up," a trader in Bangkok said.
Indonesia has said it planned to import up to 1.5 million tonnes of rice from Thailand and Vietnam in October to avert a price spike, of which Vietnam has won to supply 1 million tonnes, Vietnam's rice industry officials and traders said.