India’s rice export loses steam this quarter; Exports to Africa continue

Non-basmati rice exports from India have slowed during the current quarter, especially to the Far-East and South-East Asia, on new paddy arrivals from theregion. In addition, , payment trouble with Vietnam buyers, high freight charges and current market volatility are impacting shipments. On the other hand, shipments to Africa, especially parboiled rice, are doing well, exporters say.

Lack of containers is hampering rice exports. Shipments to Africa are taking place in break-bulk vessels due to lack of containers. A good volume of rice is being shipped to African countries from Mundra, Mumbai and other western ports.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) said rice exports during April-August this year had increased by 13.7 per cent to Rs 28,269 crore. APEDA data for April-July showed that non-basmati rice exports were up at 5.27 million tonnes (mt), valued at Rs 14,091 crore, against 3.03 mt worth Rs 8,982 crore in the year-ago period.

Exports during August-September have slowed as prices of even 100 per cent broken rice have increased. Broken rice was delivered at Rs 17,000 a tonne in Chennai until August, but it currently costs Rs 20,000-21,000 per tonne.

One of the reasons prices of 100 per cent broken rice are increasing is its use as feed since corn prices surged sharply during June-July. Countries such as Vietnam and China have been buying 100 per cent broken rice for feed. African countries, too, are buying 100 per cent broken rice for human consumption.

African countries are buying both five per cent white and parboiled rice varieties. Currently, five per cent parboiled rice is offered at $355 a tonne free-on-board, while five per cent white rice is quoted at $380 per tonne. According to the International Grains Council (IGC), Vietnam five per cent broken is quoted at $ 415 a tonne and Thailand’s at $ 379 per tonne. As per IGC data, prices of Indian rice are up five per cent year-on-year, while they are down 20 per cent in the case of Thailand and 10 per cent for Vietnam. Surge in freight rates has also slowed exports. Earlier, container charges made up 10-15 per cent of the total cost of rice export. Now, it is 30-35 per cent.

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