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ASIA RICE-Vietnam's prices up on low supply; market eyes Philippine imports
By Koustav Samanta
BENGALURU, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Low supplies boosted rice prices in Vietnam this week amid prospects of fresh purchase interest from the Philippines, while deals with Bangladesh remained the sole bright spot for the otherwise subdued demand in top Asian exporters.
Traders in Vietnam quoted the benchmark 5-percent broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> at $390-395 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Saigon, up from the $385-$390 last week.
"Supply is low after the summer-autumn crop was completely harvested, bringing prices up. Some sellers held back grains in an attempt to make larger profits," a trader in Ho Chi Minh city said.
"As for trading, Philippines will import rice from Vietnam, Thailand and other countries under the MAV (Minimum Access Volume) 2017. I think they'll buy around 290,000 tonnes from Vietnam, same as last year."
However, another trader said no deals have been finalised.
The Philippines opened the rice import scheme, Minimum Access Volume 2017, in August to private traders in Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and India, the National Food Authority (NFA) said on its website.
As of late September, importers in the Philippines have applied to buy over 2.2 million tonnes, mostly from Thailand and Vietnam, according to the NFA document.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh, which has emerged as a major importer this year after floods damaged its crops and sent domestic rates soaring, has finalised deals to import 250,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Thailand and India.
Bangladesh has also approved the purchase of 100,000 tonnes from Myanmar, setting aside a rift over an ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis. In India, the 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices <RI-INBKN5-P1> eased by $2 per tonne to the $400-$403 level on expectations of a rise in supply.
"From the end of this month, supplies from the new season crop will rise," said an exporter in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Thailand's benchmark 5-percent broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices dropped to $380-$388 a tonne, FOB Bangkok, from the $385-$390 range last week, traders said.
"With the exception of Bangladesh, there hasn't been much demand from other countries. We expect Bangladesh to demand more rice until the end of the year," said a Bangkok-based trader.
Thai prices are likely to remain stable, traders said, even as the market takes stock of the impact of recent floods in the country.
"It is still too soon to tell whether there will be damage to crops because most of the rice has already been harvested," said Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
(Reporting by Mi Nguyen in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Suphanida Thakral in Bangkok; additional reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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