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MUMBAI/HANOI/BANGKOK/DHAKA: Top rice exporter India’s export curbs forced buyers to switch to rival suppliers, boosting rates for the staple from other Asian hubs this week.

Last week, India banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various grades as it tries to augment supplies and cool local prices after scanty rainfall curtailed planting.

Rice loading has stopped at Indian ports and nearly one million tonnes trapped as buyers refuse to pay the new levy. Following the development, Indian traders were not signing new deals this week. The market was shocked by the restrictions and traders were trying to find ways to fulfil already signed contracts, a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm said. India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $385-$392 per tonne, versus last week’s $379-$387. The country’s exports could fall by around a quarter this year as buyers switch to cheaper options. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $400-$410 per tonne from $390-$393 in the previous week. A trader said that while India’s move has raised Vietnamese rates, shipments were yet to see an uptick.

“Exporters in Vietnam are not rushing to sign new contracts in anticipation of higher prices over the coming weeks,” another trader said. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices gained to $425-$435 per tonne from $416-$420 last week. “Rice supply has been slowed by the flood, heavy rains and some transport problems,” a Bangkok-based trader said. Another trader said overseas markets were also keeping a tab on developments surrounding India, which have prompted some customers to opt for Thai rice. Bangladesh was also in talks to import rice from Thailand after finalising deals with Vietnam, Myanmar and India for a total of 530,000 tonnes, a senior food ministry official in Bangladesh said.

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