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BENGALURU/ HANOI/MUMBAI/BANGKOK/DHAKA: Rice prices from top exporter India extended losses this week, pressured by ample domestic supplies and the rupee’s dive to record lows.

India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $351 to $356 per tonne, down from last week’s $357-$361 range, as the rupee hit an all-time low at 77.79 versus the dollar this week.

“The government is releasing more and more rice to feed poor people. The release has been putting pressure on the local prices,” said an exporter based at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

A weaker rupee increases traders’ margins from overseas sales, allowing them to cut export rates.

Neighbouring Bangladesh, traditionally the world’s third biggest producer, which often resorts to imports to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters, has no plan to import rice this year, a food ministry official said, despite a rise in domestic prices again this week.

“We have good stocks and good crops this time and we expect that our local procurement target will be fulfilled. There is no plan to import rice,” the official said.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices were unchanged at $415-$420 per tonne.

“Domestic supplies are running low while trading activity remains weak,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

Preliminary shipping data showed 306,870 tonnes of rice were to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port from May 1 to May 24, with most of it heading to the Philippines, Africa and Cuba.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices slipped to $430-$445 per tonne from $450 last week. Bangkok-based traders said markets have largely been muted since last week and the weak baht has made export prices attractive.

The country exported 1.74 million tonnes between January and

March, up 48.5% from the same period last year, according to data from Thailand’s commerce ministry released earlier this week.

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