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HANOI/BANGKOK/MUMBAI/DHAKA: India’s rice export prices edged up this week as sowing of crop for the new season trailed the previous year in key growing areas, while flash floods ravaged supplies of the grain in Bangladesh. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $362 to $368 per tonne, up from last week’s $361 to $366.

“Demand is weak, but prices are firm since paddy planting is not picking up,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

India’s farmers have planted 12.85 million hectares with the grain so far this season, farm ministry data showed last Friday, down 17% from the same period last year due to scanty rainfall in key growing areas. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Bangladesh, flash floods destroyed nearly 254,000 tonnes of rice, affecting over 400,000 farmers, according to an estimate from the country’s agriculture ministry.

The south Asian nation’s government, struggling to contain soaring domestic prices, allowed private traders to import around one million tonnes of rice after slashing the import duty on it. However, prices of the staple grain for Bangladeshis have stayed elevated.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $415-$420 per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from a week ago.

“We have slowed down paddy purchases from farmers, waiting for the harvest to peak,” a trader from Ho Chi Minh City said.

Domestic paddy prices, however, edged lower on new supplies from the summer-autumn harvest, traders said, adding that frequent rains during harvest have affected paddy quality.

“We are still waiting for buying signals from customers in major markets, including Philippines and China,” another trader in the city said. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices remained around $420 per tonne for the third straight week. “The market has been quiet. We can sell it here and there. Supply is not an issue,” a trader in Bangkok noted.

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