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BENGALURU: Rice export prices in India this week slipped to their lowest since December 2016 as a weaker rupee allowed exporters to cut rates amid climbing local supply from fresh crops.

Top exporter India’s 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted at $351-$356 per tonne, down from $353-$358 last week.

The Indian rupee touched a two-month low on Thursday.

“India has again become competitive in the world market,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh state.

Domestic rice prices in Bangladesh rose again this week despite good crops and imports, which officials blamed on hoarding by middlemen.

“Stern action will be taken against those who are creating an artificial crisis to make windfall profits,” a senior commerce ministry official said.

Bangladesh, traditionally the world’s third-biggest rice producer, has become a major buyer to replenish flood-hit domestic stocks, importing mostly from India.

In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice fell to $410-$414 a tonne from $415-$420 last week.

“The market is idle this week with high shipping costs as well as a container crunch remaining big problems,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City.

“Farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces are accelerating sowing seeds expected to finish by the end of this month to avoid drought and salinity,” the trader added. “Major winter-spring crop season is due to complete in February.”

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices narrowed to $385-$396 per tonne from $380-$397 last week, as the Thai baht strengthened against the US dollar.

Some traders in Bangkok said the market is relatively quiet as the end of the year approaches, while others said some buyers were rushing to make orders before the year-end.

“As prices have largely eased, there are more opportunities to sell rice to overseas buyers,” one trader said.

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