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MUMBAI /HANOI/ BANGKOK/DHAKA: Prices of rice exported from India and Vietnam rose this week, with rates for the relatively cheaper Indian variety climbing to their highest in nearly two years, on robust demand for the staple even as global supply risks persist.

Demand has been robust for the past few weeks as Indian prices are lower than competitors, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house.

India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $397-$404 per tonne versus last week’s $395-$402. India’s 2022 exports jumped to a record despite government curbs as buyers continued to snap up competitive offers from the world’s top exporter, according to government and industry officials.

To keep a lid on domestic prices, India plans to continue with a ban on broken rice exports and a 20% tax on overseas shipments of white rice. Domestic prices of rice stay elevated in neighbouring Bangladesh despite good crops and reserves, with officials blaming hoarding by middlemen.

Bangladesh recently also allowed private traders to import rice to cool local prices. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $457 per tonne from $455-$460 last week.

“Demand is still high as many are buying amid the uncertainty of the global situation,” said a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang. “In the first half of this month, shipments to Africa and Malaysia were much lower than the previous year, while those to China and the Philippines witness a sharp increase.”

Grain shipments from the Black Sea are continuing under a UN-backed deal, but that agreement is up for renegotiation this week and there’s the threat the Russia-Ukraine conflict will escalate.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were little changed at $460 per tonne, amid muted demand. Fresh supply expected at the beginning of March to April could further weaken prices, a trader said.

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