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Vietnam rice export prices climbed to their highest since July last year as traders eyed new supplies to meet increased demand, while fresh interest from Japan supported the Thai market.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $425-$457 per tonne on Thursday, widening from last week’s $444 level.

“Indonesia ordered hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rice and many exporters are trying to fulfil this deal before year-end, so the prices have gone up,” said a Bangkok based trader.

Another trader said there was also fresh demand from Japan, which this week ordered about 20,000 tonnes of rice scheduled to be fulfilled by March.

The strong baht is also helping prices, while the supply situation remain unchanged, traders said.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $448-$453 per tonne, slightly up from last week’s $445-$450 range.

“Demand from both existing and new markets is still healthy while supplies are running low,” said a trader based in the Mekong Delta, adding buyers from China and the Philippines were still interested in Vietnamese rice even as Pakistan was offering cheaper prices.

Asia rice: Vietnam rates extend rally on robust demand; rupee drags India market

“It’s expected that the upcoming winter-spring crop will produce better quantity and quality of rice than the summer-autumn one,” the trader added.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $373-$378 per tonne, unchanged from last week.

“Supplies are rising from the new season crop, but the government’s aggressive buying is supporting the market,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Bangladesh’s private rice import plan faces a setback with only 360,000 tonnes bought since July, after the government allowed private traders to import nearly 1.5 million tonnes, according to the data from the Food Ministry.

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