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HANOI/MUMBAI/BANGKOK AND DHAKA: Export prices of rice in major Asian hubs rose this week supported by strong demand, while Bangladesh started a crackdown on illegal hoarders as domestic prices spiked. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $355 to $360 per tonne, up from $350 to $354 per tonne last week. “Buyers are moving towards India because prices are more competitive than supplies from Thailand and Vietnam,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Trade and government sources had said last week India that does not plan to curb rice exports as it has sufficient stocks and local rates are lower than state-set support prices.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, the government has launched a nationwide drive against rice hoarders amid a sharp rise in domestic prices during peak season, officials said. Domestic prices have spiked more than 5% in a week, which officials blamed on hoarding by traders to create an artificial crisis to make windfall profits.

Earlier this week, prime minister Sheikh Hasina ordered a crackdown on illegal rice hoarding. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $455-$460 per tonne, up from last week’s $450, which traders attributed to a small pickup in domestic and international demand. “There was demand from Iraq, which increased market activity,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

There is still ample supply, another trader said. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice were offered at $420-$425 per tonne on Thursday, up from $415-$420 a week ago. “Traders are increasing their purchases from farmers to prepare for their upcoming contracts,” the trader added. Vietnam exported 2.86 million tonnes of rice valued at $1.39 billion in the first five months this year, up 10.3% in volume, but down 1.0% in value from a year earlier.

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