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Prices of rice were mixed in June, those of wheat declined seasonally

14/07/2020

Prices of rice showed mixed movement across the subregion in June, but they were generally higher year on year after the steady increases in the past months due to a surge in demand coupled with supply disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Viet Nam, prices of rice decreased reflecting the improved supplies from the early “summer-autumn” harvest and a decline in foreign demand. However, prices remained some 40 percent above their year-earlier levels after the large exports and strong domestic buying amid the pandemic underpinned the sharp price increases in the past months. In Thailand, prices of rice strengthened in June and were higher than a year earlier mainly supported by tight market availabilities due to a below-average 2020 secondary season output, which follows a reduced 2019 main crop. In Myanmar, prices of rice also increased and in early July, the Myanmar Rice Federation announced the sale of rice from the State reserves to retailers as a measure towards stabilizing prices. In India, prices of rice held relatively steady in June despite the progressive arrival of the record 2019/20 secondary crop into the markets due to persisting logistic disruptions and large Government procurement purchases. In China (mainland) and Cambodia, prices of rice were stable and lower than their levels in June last year reflecting adequate market supplies from the 2019 good outputs. In Bangladesh, prices of rice were stable and at high levels in June despite the recently-completed bumper “Boro” harvest, supported by strong domestic buying and stockpiling amid the pandemic. In Sri Lanka, prices of rice decreased in June with the relaxation of movement restrictions early in the month. Prices of rice weakened in Indonesia for the second consecutive month in June and were close to their year-earlier levels, while prices strengthened in the Philippines in May, supported by strong local demand over concerns linked to the pandemic. With regard to wheat, sharp price increases were recorded in Pakistan in June. Seasonal upward pressure was exacerbated by the lower-than-expected 2020 production, marking the third consecutive year of a below-average output, coupled with local stockpiling and transport disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government is taking measures to curb the price increases (FPMA Food Policies) and, on 22 June 2020, it approved the importation of 2.5 million tonnes of wheat by the private sector. Elsewhere in the subregion, prices of wheat mostly weakened in line with seasonal trends. Prices decreased in India reflecting abundant market supplies from the record 2020 output, completed in May (GIEWS Country Brief). Similarly, in China (mainland), prices of wheat declined seasonally with the ongoing 2020 harvest, forecast at a near‑average level (GIEWS Country Brief). Seasonal declines in June were also reported in Bangladesh, where imports contributed to the downward pressure on prices. By contrast, in Sri Lanka, price of wheat flour increased for the second consecutive month in June, although remaining around their year-earlier levels.