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BENGALURU/BANGKOK/HANOI/MUMBAI/DHAKA: Prices of rice exported from Vietnam rose this week, as trade routes to China reopened with some traders betting on additional demand from buyers looking for alternate sources due to the Ukraine crisis.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $400 per tonne on Thursday, versus $395-$400 a week ago.

“Shipments to China are expected to increase as China is reopening borders with Vietnam after coronavirus curbs,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

“The ongoing Ukrainian war might prompt buyers to import more rice from Asia, including Vietnam,” the trader added.

A Bangkok-based trader said the situation in Ukraine “might have increased freight rates slightly.” Prices of Thailand’s 5% broken rice widened slightly to $403-$400 per tonne from $400 last week, also taking cues from currency fluctuations with the baht valued at 32.60 against the US dollar on Thursday.

But another trader said the crisis has not impacted Thai rice exports because neither Russia nor Ukraine were among its main trading partners. Ukraine’s military recently suspended commercial shipping at its ports, threatening grain and oilseed exports.

Demand for rice from top exporter India improved, but prices of its 5% broken parboiled variety were unchanged at $370-$376 per tonne as the rupee weakened, translating into higher margins for traders from overseas sales.

“Demand for broken rice has improved as prices of corn are rising. Some buyers are looking for alternatives to corn,” said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

Indian farmers may harvest a record 127.93 million tonnes versus 124.37 million tonnes the year before.

Meanwhile, domestic rice prices stayed high in Bangladesh, despite good reserves, officials said.Freight rates have increased slightly due to the Ukraine crisis, prompting higher import costs for grains, a trader said.

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