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MUMBAI/HANOI /BANGKOK/DHAKA: Prices of rice shipped from top hub India eased this week on a slowdown in demand from buyers in Africa, while Bangladesh looked to clamp down on hoarding to tame soaring local rates for the staple.

Rates for India’s 5% broken parboiled variety fell to $390-$395 per tonne from $397-$404, which was the highest in about two years, were also hurt by depreciation in the rupee.

Buying from African countries has slowed a bit due to the recent rally in prices, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house. India does not plan to lift a ban on broken rice exports and cut a 20% tax on overseas shipments of white rice as the top exporter tries to keep a lid on domestic prices, two government sources said last month.

In Bangladesh, domestic prices stayed elevated despite good crops and reserves, which officials blamed on hoarding by middlemen. The government has warned of legal action against those involved. “Surveillance has been increased. New laws are being enacted,” Bangladesh Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $450 $460 per tonne, a slight dip from the $460 range last week.

“Supply and demand have been muted because it’s early in the month, (so) we have to wait for the new harvest,” said a Bangkok-based trader. In Vietnam, 5% broken rice was offered at $440-$445 per tonne, down from $457 per tonne a week ago.

“Prices edged lower as supplies are building up amid the winter-spring harvest,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said. While prices may ease further as the harvest peaks this month, strong global demand will prevent a more pronounced retreat, traders said.

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