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Prices of rice decreased in most countries, while those of wheat showed mixed trends

09/10/2019

In most countries of the subregion, domestic prices of rice generally softened in September. In the main exporting countries, the price declines were mostly associated with a generally weak import demand. In Viet Nam, prices declined in September, pressured by increased supplies from the 2019 summer-autumn harvest, currently ongoing, and a slowdown in sales. Similarly, prices declined in Thailand, mainly on account of subdued international demand, although concerns over the impact of unfavourable weather conditions on the soon-to-be-harvested 2019 main season crops limited the decline. In Myanmar, prices also fell in September and reached levels well below those a year earlier, reflecting favourable prospects for this year’s main harvest and on account of ample domestic supplies after a decline in exports. In India, prices of rice were overall stable in September, as expectation of a slight decrease in the 2019 main crop, currently being harvested, was offset by a steep decline in exports in recent months. In China (Mainland), the subregion’s main rice producer, prices of rice remained stable or decreased in September mainly reflecting good market availabilities from the 2019 harvests. In importing countries of the subregion, prices of rice also decreased in September and were lower year on year. In the Philippines, prices continued to decline in September, marking nearly one year of steady falls, mainly on account of large imports. In Bangladesh, prices declined for the second consecutive month in September, after some firmness in the previous three months, and were 20 percent below their year-earlier values. The low level of prices reflects ample market availabilities from the 2019 main harvest and carryovers from the record harvests in 2018 (GIEWS Country Brief). In Indonesia, prices were generally stable, while in Sri Lanka, they increased for the second consecutive month in September despite the ongoing minor harvest, as crops were affected by dry weather conditions. As for wheat and wheat flour, prices showed mixed trends in September. Wheat prices were stable in China (Mainland) and India, reflecting adequate market availabilities, while those of wheat flour generally increased in Pakistan due to stronger prices of wheat grain, underpinned by weather-related damage to crops and strong exports in the past months. Amid high prices of wheat and relatively low levels of procurement, the Government banned wheat exports in late July (FPMA Food Policies). Prices of wheat flour increased also in importing country, Bangladesh, while they remained stable in Indonesia and declined slightly in Sri Lanka. In Afghanistan, higher prices of wheat in the subregional export market and the country’s weaker currency kept prices under upward pressure and above their values in September last year.