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MUMBAI/DHAKA AND BANGKOK: Rice export prices in Thailand dropped to their lowest level in two years this week due to a lack of buyers and a weakening baht, while coronavirus restrictions in Vietnam pushed rates to a near 1-1/2 year lows.

Thailand's 5% broken rice prices fell to $385-$408 per tonne on Thursday, from $395-$410 per tonne a week ago, their lowest since July 2019. Bangkok-based traders said a depreciation of the Thai baht against the US dollar continued to lower export prices this week.

Trading at 32.86 against the US dollar, the baht has weakened by 10% since the start of the year. Traders complained of a lack of buyers' interest at a time when Thai rice prices were more competitive than before.

"The government should help find buyers overseas to help farmers, because our prices can compete with Vietnam now," one trader said.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices slipped to $390 per tonne on Thursday - their lowest since February 2020 - from a range of $395-$400 a week earlier.

"Sales are slow as the ongoing coronavirus movement restrictions in most of southern Vietnam continue to hinder transport and transactions," a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang said.

Vietnam's rice exports in the first seven months of this year are estimated to have dropped 10.6% from a year earlier to 3.6 million tonnes. Shipments in July totalled 500,000 tonnes, worth $289 million. Prices for top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety were unchanged at $361 to $366 per tonne this week, their lowest level in 16-months.

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