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BENGALURU/BANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Rice prices in top exporter India eased off a more than seven-month high this week as the rupee weakened, while activity in other hubs remained quiet ahead of key harvest and festival seasons.

“The rupee’s depreciation is bringing down export prices. But still, new deals are not picking up due to railway wagon scarcity,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

A weaker rupee increases the margins traders make on overseas sales.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $372 to $379 per tonne this week, down from the last week’s 7-month peak of $375 to $382.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices edged higher to $408-$415 per tonne on Thursday, from $407-$410 last week.

Thailand exported 6.1 million tonnes of rice in 2021, up 6.7% from a year earlier, according to data from the country’s commerce ministry.

Overseas demand for Thai rice was largely still muted, Bangkok-based traders said.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $395-$405 per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from a week ago.

“Trading activity is slow as the Lunar New Year holiday is approaching,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Traders said the main winter-spring harvest will begin over the next week, but won’t peak until mid-March.

“Winter-spring productivity will likely fall 10%-20% from the same harvest a year earlier as many farmers had cut down on fertilization, which has become more expensive due to the pandemic,” another trader based in the city said. In Bangladesh, domestic prices of rice went up again this week despite good crops and ample imports, hitting consumers.

“Prices of all grains, including wheat, are on the rise in global markets. When wheat prices go up, there is an impact on rice prices, too,” a Dhaka-based trader said.

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