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Prices of rice in major exporter Thailand climbed to a near four-month high this week, while Vietnam rates steadied closer to their best level in over a year, buoyed by increasing orders from neighbouring countries.

In the first four months of 2023, Vietnam saw a 23.4% jump in shipments from a year earlier to 1.85 million tonnes, government customs data showed.

They rose 80% from March to 961,608 tonnes in April.

“Trading activity is robust as exporters are pushing their purchases to fill signed contracts,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at a regional meeting that Vietnam was willing to supply rice to the Philippines for the long term at reasonable prices.

Philippines is Vietnam’s largest buyer. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $485-$495 per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from last week yet close to highs last seen in April 2021.

In Thailand, 5% broken rice prices rose to their highest since January at $498-$500 per tonne, from last week’s $485, with traders attributing the rise to increasing demand and a strengthening baht.

A stronger domestic currency makes exports from the country expensive in dollar terms.

Bangladesh’s agriculture ministry advised farmers to harvest 80% of paddy and other crops to limit damages during cyclone Mocha, which is expected to make landfall this weekend.

Producing around 35 million tonnes annually, Bangladesh often requires imports to cope with shortages of the staple grain caused by floods or droughts.

India’s 5% broken parboiled variety prices were unchanged at $376-$380 per tonne, their lowest since December.

Asia rice: Vietnam rates at two-year highs stoke demand concerns

“Demand is weak. Supplies from the winter crop are also getting delayed because of untimely rainfall in the last few weeks,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

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