· The FAO All Rice Price index (2002-04=100) averaged 194 points in March 2017, barely changed from its February level. Prices of higher quality Indica rice were under the most downward pressure last month, shedding 1.2 percent of their value due to soft demand. This decline contrasted with continued gains in basmati quotations, which lifted the value of the Aromatic Index by an additional 2.6 percent month-on-month. Prices of lower quality Indica and Japonica rice were mostly steady.
· March export quotations were little varied in Thailand and India, despite support provided by appreciating currencies in both countries. The relative stability mirrored a timid pace of sales, with the release of government stocks exerting further downward pressure on Thai prices. Thus, benchmark Thai 100% B white rice was quoted at USD 385 per tonne in March, fractionally above February levels. By contrast, Indica quotations took a downturn in Pakistan and the United States, as sales outside of regular markets proved limited. Harvest progress similarly weighed on quotations in the leading South American exporters, especially in Uruguay. In the basmati segment, price gains mostly concerned Pakistan, reflecting strong interest from Near Eastern buyers. Sales to regular Far Eastern outlets also sustained a modest advance in medium-grain quotations in the United States, while in Viet Nam prices continued to gather strength following delays in the winter-spring harvest.
· According to the FAO All Rice Price Index, international prices in the first quarter of 2017 were 1.6 percent below their year-earlier levels. Among the five leading rice origins, the sharpest declines concerned quotations in the United States, followed by those of Thailand and Viet Nam. By contrast, export prices were stronger in India and Pakistan, especially for basmati supplies.