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MUMBAI/HANOI/ BANGKOK: Indian rice export prices extended losses this week after sluggish demand as buyers, anticipating further price falls, postponed purchases, while Vietnamese traders hoped their competitive pricing and growing supplies would lure more orders from big buyers.

Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $380-$385 per tonne - the lowest since mid-January - down from $382-$387 a week ago.

One exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh, who asked not to be named, said prices had corrected by around $20 per tonne in a month, and all farm commodities had dropped in the last few days.

“Buyers are waiting to see whether rice prices could fall further,” the exporter said. In Vietnam, the 5% broken rice prices were unchanged at $450 per tonne this week. “Trading activities will definitely pick up in the next coming months on rising supplies from current harvest and demands from traditional buyers including China and the Philippines,” said a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, adding the winter-spring harvest would conclude by the end of March.

Another trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said rates for Vietnamese rice were still lower than Thai grain, so some traders overseas were turning to Vietnam to maximise profit. Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $465 per tonne, from last week’s $455 per tonne.

One Bangkok-based trader said prices had changed slightly because the baht rose. The trader expected, however, prices would be range-bound as demand was “quiet” and supplies were gradually rising.

A stronger domestic currency makes exports from the country expensive in dollar terms. Prices may come down if supplies increase, another trader said.

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