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BANGKOK: Vietnamese rice exporters cut prices this week to match more competitive offers from top Asian hubs India and Thailand, while Bangladesh stepped up imports to shore up domestic stocks.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice edged down to $505-$510 per tonne on Thursday from an over nine-year peak of $515-$520 per tonne last week.

Exporters have had to lower their offered prices following the decline in Thai and Indian rates, a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

“Importers are moving to India to buy 5% broken rice, though they are still buying fragrant rice from Vietnam,” the trader added.

Top exporter India’s 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted at $393 to $398 per tonne, down from last week’s $398-$403 range.

The prices were adjusted to reflect a drop in the Indian rupee, said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, adding that “demand is largely steady.” In neighbouring Bangladesh, which has of late turned into a major buyer to shore up depleted domestic stocks, the reserves were still low despite recent efforts to import more of the grain, officials said. Bangladesh has approved the purchase of 50,000 tonnes of rice from an Indian firm through an international tender while it received the lowest offer to buy another 50,000 tonnes from another Indian company, officials said.

Thailand’s benchmark 5% broken rice prices declined to a four-month low of $488-$500 per tonne on Thursday, from $500-$518 last week.

Bangkok-based traders said the price drop was largely due to a decline in domestic prices and the exchange rate, as the Thai baht has weakened 3.5% against the US dollar since the start of March.

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