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DHAKA/MUMBAI/BANGKOK/HANOI: India’s rice export rates dipped this week on lower demand, while domestic prices in neighbouring Bangladesh rose again after the government hiked fuel prices adding to inflation concerns. “Demand was weak this week.

African buyers were not active in the market,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Top rice exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $360-$366 per tonne, down from last week’s $364-$370, but persistent concerns of a hit to output due to lower rains capped the downside.

Bangladesh’s rice import plan faces a setback with only 15,500 tonnes bought in July, after the government allowed private traders to import nearly 1 million tonnes of the staple grain after slashing duty to 25.0% from 62.5%.

“The government should lift the import duty altogether. Otherwise, it is not profitable for us to import,” a Dhaka-based trader said. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $390-$393 per tonne. Rates are edging down as the quality of this harvest is at level with that of less expensive Thai and Indian rice, a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

“However, prices won’t likely decline further as global demand remains strong, while supplies from the summer-autumn harvest in the Mekong Delta province are falling,” the trader added. Preliminary shipping data

showed 318,750 tonnes of rice to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in the Aug 1-17 period, with most of it heading to the Philippines and Africa. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $420-$428 per tonne.

Traders said a gradual increase in international and domestic demand has driven up export rates, despite no major deal taking place. Exporters continue to buy rice stocks while the currency exchange rate stabilizes, a rice trader from Bangkok said, while another noted that new supply started to enter the market this week.

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