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MUMBAI/HANOI/ BANGKOK/DHAKA: Top rice exporter India’s rates hit a five-year peak this week on thin supplies and the government’s move to raise the mandatory paddy buying price, while prices in Vietnam and Thailand also hit more than two-year highs.

India’s 5% broken parboiled variety gained for a fifth straight week to a range of $409-$416 per tonne, its highest since early May 2018 and up from the last week’s $397 to $405.

“Prices are moving higher because of limited supplies of paddy for processing. At higher price levels, demand has been moderating from African buyers,” said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association of India. Earlier this month, India raised the price at which it will buy new-season common rice paddy from farmers by 7%.

Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $515 per tonne, their highest since March 2021 and up from $505 per tonne last week. Prices increased due to demand from Asia and Africa for Thai variety as prices in India rose, said one Bangkok-based trader. Prices were also supported by limited supplies, said another trader, with shipments going to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $500-$510 per tonne, its highest since the week of April 1, 2021 period and compared with $495-$505 a week ago.

“Demand is strong as buying countries are consolidating their stocks to ensure food security,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said. Vietnam’s rice exports in the first half of this year are estimated to have risen about 22.2% from a year earlier, government data showed. Bangladesh is expanding sales of subsidised rice from July to help the poor hit by rising costs of the staple grain, food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said.

Under this scheme, 10 million people will get rice at the rate of 30 takas ($0.28) per kg, Majumder told reporters this week.

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