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NEW DELHI: India’s rice export prices extended their decline this week as demand from key importing countries faltered, while supplies in Vietnam boomed due to peaking winter-spring harvest in the Mekong Delta.

India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $385-$390 per tonne this week from last week’s $390-$395. Prices have been sliding from around $400 reached in the week of Feb. 23, their highest since March 2021.

The recent upside in export prices and an increase in freight rates for break bulk vessels were affecting demand, said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, India’s leading rice exporter.

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 world’s biggest exporter of the grain tries to keep a lid on domestic prices, two government sources said last month.

In Vietnam, the 5% broken rice was offered at $440-$445 per tonne, unchanged from a week ago.

Traders said the winter-spring harvest is peaking in the Mekong Delta provinces, giving a boost to domestic supplies, which hasn’t impacted prices as demand is expected to be strong.

The country exported 534,607 tonnes of rice in February, according to government customs data released on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices was quoted at $460 per tonne, little changed from $450 to $460 seen last week.

“Prices are still standing at this level because (changes to) supply and demand have been quiet,” said a Bangkok-based trader. “We have to wait for the new harvest.” Meanwhile, domestic rice prices in Bangladesh stayed elevated, despite efforts to cool rates of the staple grain.

The government has allowed private traders to import rice while it’s also buying from the key exporting countries such as Vietnam, India and Myanmar.

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