London — Flash floods in Cambodia have inundated much of the country's rice fields in recent days, according to market sources.
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The floods follow approximately 10 days of rain, which one exporter described as having been "non-stop". They also come at possibly the worst possible time for farmers, with harvesting of the delayed Sen Kra Ob main crop under way and harvesting of the Phka Malis crop expected imminently.
According to a spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management, cited by Associated Press, "thousands of hectares" of rice fields have been destroyed. One exporter claimed that between 60%-70% of rice fields in the country's rice bowl, Battambang, had been destroyed, with a European broker reporting that "the majority of the SKO [Sen Kra Ob] still in the fields will be wiped out."
Other participants were more cautious in their assessments and said they were waiting for flood water to recede before estimating the extent of the damage. However, one such participant still noted that "we are worrying [about] paddy quality" due to the length of time the paddy will be submerged for during the crop's delicate ripening stage before harvesting.
Exporters noted that they are unable to offer for prompt shipment, with roads submerged and harvesting activities on hold. The situation is not expected to improve in the coming days, with tropical storms Nangka and Saudel forecast to bring further rain to Cambodia between Oct. 15-20 after making landfall in Vietnam.
Exporters are hesitant to offer fresh volumes as a result. S&P Global Platts assessed Sen Kra Ob 5% broken STX at $736/mt FOB FCL on Oct. 9.