Rice export prices held stable in Thailand before a state stock auction in July, while rising supplies from a harvest in southern Vietnam have weakened prices slightly, traders said on Wednesday.
Buyers in Thailand, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter after India, held back purchases, creating thin demand, before the government auction expected next month, traders in Bangkok said. The date of the auction is not yet known.
In the last auction of state stockpiles held on June 15, the Thai government sold 1.11 million tonnes worth 11.54 billion baht ($327 million).
Thailand’s 5 percent broken rice stood unchanged in the past week at $415-$438 a tonne, FOB Bangkok.
Thai rice prices are expected to ease soon as the U.S. dollar has appreciated after the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union last week, resulting in a slightly weaker Thai baht.
“This is likely to lower our dollar prices, making our rice prices more competitive with Vietnam,” a trader said.
Thailand has exported 4.7 million tonnes of rice in the first six months of 2016, up 11.42 percent from a year ago, Thailand’s commerce minister said June 23.
In Vietnam, export prices of lower-quality 25 percent broken rice eased on rising supplies because of an accelerating harvest, while buying demand has yet to pick up, traders said.
The variety weakened to $335-$340 a tonne, FOB basis, using fresh summer-autumn grain, from $340-$345 last Wednesday, while the 5-percent broken rice stood unchanged at $370-$380 a tonne.
China, Vietnam’s top rice importer, is not active, while Vietnamese jasmine rice has sold well to Ghana, traders said.
Ghana has passed the Philippines to emerge as Vietnam’s third-biggest rice buyer after China and Indonesia during the first five months of 2016, importing 203,000 tonnes during that time, up 49.2 percent from a year ago, Vietnam’s farm ministry said.
Vietnam’s first-half rice exports fell 6.8 percent from a year earlier to 2.78 million tonnes, based on government statistics released on Tuesday.
A smaller winter-spring crop, Vietnam’s biggest rice harvest period, has curbed the agricultural sector’s growth, slowing Vietnam’s economic expansion.
The crop paddy output fell 6.4 percent from last year to 19.4 million tonnes due to drought and salination, Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the statistics office, said in a report on Tuesday.
Supply from India, Thailand and Vietnam, the world’s biggest exporters, accounts for a combined 66 percent of global rice trade.