Rice prices dropped this week in Thailand, Vietnam and India due to weak demand for the staple, traders said on Thursday.
Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $370-$375 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, down from $375-$377 a tonne last week.
The fall in prices can be attributed to the release of new crops.
“Export market demand is currently at a low level, perhaps due to buyers waiting to see whether a further slump in prices will occur or not," said a Bangkok-based trader.
Prices in Thailand are expected to fall next week and remain relatively stable until the end of October, according to rice traders.
Vietnam benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 tightened slightly to $385-$390 a tonne this week, FOB Saigon, from $385-$395 last week.
This drop has occurred as fresh demand was scarce after harvesting ended for the summer-autumn crops.
“The market has been quiet on low demand. Prices have declined in Thailand, so Vietnam’s prices also went down,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Thailand and Vietnam are the world`s second and third biggest rice exporters.
In India, the world`s biggest rice exporter, 5-percent broken parboiled rice prices fell by $3 per tonne to $400 to $403 per tonne.
Weak demand is the result of a strong rupee which dents export margins.
"We are out priced. Buyers are asking for less than $400 per tonne, which is not possible due to strong rupee," said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
India`s non-basmati rice exports are likely to slow over the next few months as its shipments of the grain have become too expensive due to a rally in the rupee and an increase in local paddy prices.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh is set to buy 250,000 tonnes of white rice at $453 a tonne from Cambodia in a government-to-government deal, officials said.
It had earlier imported 200,000 tonnes of white rice at $430 a tonne and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice at $470 a tonne from Vietnam in a state-to-state deal at rates much higher than in tenders.
Demand from Bangladesh has been crucial to rice prices in the global market this year as the country`s government is battling to build buffer stocks to combat high domestic prices after flash floods in April wiped away around 1 million tonnes of rice output.