Thai rice prices hit 7-year high on anticipated sales as coronavirus troubles rivals - exporters

BANGKOK, April 2 (Reuters) - Thailand’s rice prices have reached the highest in seven years due to Thai exporters anticipating more sales, as their main competitors battle domestic coronavirus outbreaks.

Thailand, the world's second-largest rice exporter after India, quoted its benchmark 5% broken white rice RI-THBKN5-P1 at around $560-$570 per tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok basis on Thursday, according to rice exporters Reuters spoke to.

The prices jumped from under $500 per tonne last week to the highest level since late April 2013, which saw an average quote of $570 per tonne, according to Reuters data.

Exporters said prices rose on a better export outlook after the coronavirus outbreak sent India into a three-week lockdown and main rival Vietnam banned new rice export contracts last week to ensure domestic supply.

More demand was also expected as the Philippines said on Tuesday it was seeking to import 300,000 tonnes.

An official quote from the Thai Rice Exporters Association for a 5% white rice grade RI-THWHT5-A also reached a seven-year high this week at $564 per tonne, up more than 12% from $502 last week. (Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Alex Richardson)