The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says rice prices among major producers in Far East Asia last month were stable compared to March last year.

“Prices of rice increased in the subregion’s main exporters while remaining below or close to their year-earlier levels,” the FAO said in its monthly Food Price Monitoring and Analysis Bulletin released in Rome on Thursday.

In Vietnam, the bulletin said prices rose “marginally” with the progress of the main winter-spring harvest which is estimated to be above average.

“Overall, prices in March remained more than 20 percent below their year-earlier levels, following strong declines throughout 2021,” it said.

“Similarly, moderate price increases were recorded in Thailand due to a pick-up in demand, although prices were well below their year-earlier levels due to good local availabilities and expectations for an above-average 2021/22 secondary crop, currently being harvested.”

But “significant price increases were recorded for the third consecutive month in Myanmar, where prices rose by 18 percent month on month to high levels, linked to seasonal trends and strong international demand.

“Seasonal price increases were also behind the rice price increases in Cambodia.”

In China, the monthly report on food price trends said “adequate market availabilities kept prices stable and close to their year-earlier levels.”

Although world rice prices moved little, the FAO bulletin noted that “prices of wheat and coarse grains surged in March as the reduced exports from the Russian Federation and Ukraine worsened already tight global availabilities.”

Soaring wheat pieces reflected a “sharp reduction in exports from Ukraine and a slowdown in shipments from the Russian Federation,” the bulletin said.

“Similar to wheat, coarse grain export prices surged in March as port closures in Ukraine due to the ongoing war disrupted shipments from this major global exporter.”

Given the tight markets for wheat and coarse grains — which include corn, sorghum and barley — the bulletin issued grain price warnings for 13 countries.

These included Sri Lanka where the warning for rice and wheat flour prices was “high” after a currency depreciation and below-average rice crop.

The 12 other countries assigned price warnings were in Africa (one “moderate” and seven “high” warnings) and Latin America (four “moderate” warnings).

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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