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Export prices for Indian rice rose further this week, supported by strong demand and concerns that the world’s top exporter of the grain could restrict shipments.

India’s 5% broken parboiled rice was sold at prices of $357 to $362 per tonne this week, compared with $355 to $360 in the previous week.

“There’s huge demand for 100% broken rice, as well as for the 5% broken rice. Traders are speculating India might put restrictions on the exports,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

India’s surprise ban on wheat exports has prompted rice traders to increase purchases and place unusual orders for longer-dated deliveries.

However, trade and government sources have said the country does not plan to curb exports of the grain as there were sufficient stocks and local rates were lower than state-set support prices.

Asia rice: Export rates rise in key hubs as demand firms

Neighboring Bangladesh will, meanwhile, allow private traders to import rice as domestic prices have jumped more than 5% in a week despite good crops and reserves. The government is also cracking down on stockpiling.

Traditionally the world’s third-biggest rice producer, Bangladesh often imports the grain to ease shortages after floods and droughts.

Thailand’s benchmark 5% broken rice was quoted at $450 to $460 per tonne versus $455 to $460 last week, with the small change attributed to currency fluctuations.

“There’s some demand for exports but no major deals so far,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

Supply remains ample with new crops expected around July-August, another trader said.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices remained steady at $420-$425 per tonne.

“Domestic supplies are building with output from the summer-autumn harvest,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

“But demand is also picking up, especially from Asian and African buyers.”

Vietnamese exports in the first five months this year rose 6.5% from last year.

“The Philippines’ move earlier this week to extend a cut in import tax on rice is also a positive signal for exporters,” another trader said.

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