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MUMBAI/DHAKA: Indian rice export prices slipped to their lowest since mid-May this week as the rupee slid, while higher shipping costs capped a decline in Thai rates on prospects of an increase in supplies. Top exporter India’s 5 percent broken parboiled variety fell to $374-$379 per tonne from last week’s $379-$383, mainly on a depreciation in the rupee to its lowest level in 1-1/2 months. “Rupee’s fall is allowing us to lower prices and demand is stable,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Last week, India raised the price at which it will buy new-season common rice varieties from local farmers.

This could encourage farmers to expand their area under rice, the exporter added. Thailand’s 5percent broken rice prices slipped to $440-$486 per tonne on Thursday from $455-$484 last week. The anticipation of more supply due to rainfall weighed on prices, some traders said. Meanwhile, other traders said higher freight costs continued to be a factor in keeping prices high.

“Rice output should be higher this year because there is ample rain and sufficient water for production,” a Bangkok-based trader said, adding there is more possibility of deals at this level.

“Importers are turning to (Thai and India) markets for 5percent broken rice to enjoy lower prices, although some are still buying jasmine from Vietnam,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said. Additionally, another trader said that shortage of containers was still a problem and made it difficult for them to ship grains. Bangladesh could import 1.8 million tonnes of rice this year, the highest in four years, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report this week.

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