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MUMBAI/ BANGKOK/ HANOI/DHAKA: India rice export prices extended their gaining streak to a seventh week and hit an over 5-year high this week on dwindling supplies amid a report that the country is considering banning exports of most rice varieties to curb inflation. India - the world’s biggest rice exporter - banned overseas shipments of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on exports of various other grades in September 2022 amid concerns over production.

Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the government is discussing a plan to ban exports of all non-basmati rice to avoid risk of higher inflation after prices surged.

A government spokesman did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Two government sources said that there is no proposal to ban exports. New Delhi is closely monitoring price movement and the output scenario for 2023 would become clear in October or November, said an official, who declined to be named.

“At that point, we can consider lifting export restrictions or imposing further curbs.” India’s 5% broken parboiled variety rates this week climbed to their highest since April 2018 at $421 to $428 per tonne from last week’s $412-$420 range.

BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association (REA) said a government move to increase paddy procurement price had been pushing up rates.

“But, the government is holding more stocks than needed for welfare schemes. There is no need to restrict exports,” he told Reuters. Meanwhile, Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices were unchanged at $515 per tonne. Prices there are expected to increase after buyers stocked up, said a Bangkok-based trader, adding that the farmers were advised not to grow during the off-season due to high water usage. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $510-$513 per ton, from last week’s $500-$510 range.

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