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MUMBAI/DHAKA/HANOI/BANGKOK: Rice export prices sagged in top Asian hubs this week, with rates in Thailand hitting lowest level in 19-months and Vietnam sliding to its lowest since July last year, pressured by the arrival of fresh crop season.

"Domestic supplies are building up as farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces have started harvesting their summer-autumn crop," a trader based in Vietnam's An Giang province said.

The country's 5% broken rice variety rates fell to a range of $465-$470 per tonne on Thursday from $470-$475 a week earlier.

"Rice importers have cut down purchases from Vietnam because of the high shipping cost that they have to bear," the trader added.

Traders said domestic paddy sales are also slow because of coronavirus movement restrictions. Top exporter India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety was steady at $367-$371 per tonne this week, a more-than-seven-month low as planting of summer-sown crop gained pace in the most part of the country. "Rice planting has gained pace in eastern India. It will pick up in other parts of the country as well from next week," said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Thailand's 5% broken rice prices widened slightly to $410-$425 per tonne on Thursday, from $420-$422 per tonne a week ago. Bangkok-based traders said overseas demand has been lackluster, and a depreciation of the Thai baht against the US dollar resulted in lower price quotes this week for some traders after a currency conversion.

"Thai rice exports have fallen into a slumber, the worst I've seen in decades," one trader said. Bangladesh imported 1.3 million tonnes of rice in the 2020-21 financial year that ended in June, according to the Food Ministry, the highest since 2017-18 when the country bought a record 3.8 million tonnes.

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