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India’s prices for rice exports were near a 1-1/2 year high this week as traders struggled with logjams at ports due to recent curbs on overseas shipment, while buyers hunted for cheaper supply from other hubs.

Prices for the top exporter’s 5% broken parboiled variety were unchanged from last week at $385-$392 per tonne, their highest since April 2021.

Some buyers were willing to pay higher prices, but most were waiting for prices to stabilize, said an exporter from Kakinada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Rice loading has stopped at Indian ports, holding up shipments of nearly 1 million tonnes of grains, as buyers are refusing to pay the government’s new 20% export levy on top of the agreed contract price.

The restrictions also forced buyers to switch to rival suppliers.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice rates were also unchanged at $400-$410 per tonne.

Traders said domestic rice prices had risen recently as exporters were boosting purchases from farmers, anticipating higher export rates.

Asia rice: India’s rice export curbs prompt buyers to look to other hubs

“Domestic supplies are running low as the summer-autumn harvest has ended and we’ve to wait for at least two more months before another harvest begins,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s agriculture minister Le Minh Hoan said the country was not in a deal with Thailand to jointly raise rice prices in the global market, after a Thai official recently hinted at such an agreement.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices widened to $420-$435 per tonne from $425-$435 last week, amid a weaker baht.

“There may be some demand from Japan based on annual purchases when it is used to ferment liquor to make sake,” said a Bangkok-based rice trader.

Another trader said there was demand from South Asia, citing natural disasters in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Bangladesh has allowed private traders to import another 80,000 tonnes of rice in an effort to cool domestic prices of the staple.

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