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MUMBAI/DHAKA: Indian rice export prices fell for a seventh straight week as supplies have been boosted by the central government’s release of stocks to help the poor in a country tackling a COVID-19 surge.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $370 to $374 per tonne this week, down from last week’s level of $371 to $376.

Rice prices in the local market have corrected significantly after the government started releasing stocks from its warehouses to help poor people, an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh said.

India has been providing free grains to nearly 800 million people as the second wave of novel coronavirus hit the country.

Neighbouring Bangladesh is expected to see a rise in summer rice output or ‘Boro’ crop to 20.5 million tonnes this year from 19.6 million tonnes a year earlier, because of higher acreage, the country’s agriculture ministry said.

The ‘Boro’ variety, which contributes more than half of Bangladesh’s typical annual rice output, could reduce imports for Bangladesh that has emerged as a big importer after repeated floods last year damaged crops.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s 5% broken rice price narrowed to $465-$473 per tonne - an over six-month low - from $475-$485 a week ago.

Traders cited a lack of overseas demand, while there were no concerns about supply. However in Vietnam, the 5% broken rice was unchanged from a week earlier at $490-$495 a tonne as sales track low supplies.

“Traders are waiting for new output from the upcoming summer-autumn harvest,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Exports in the first four months of this year fell 6.9% year on year to 1.97 million tonnes, but increased 45.1% in April from March.

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