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Rice prices rise in India on stronger rupee; stable in Thailand, Vietnam

MUMBAI/BANGKOK/HANOI (Reuters) - Rice prices in India rose on a stronger rupee, while markets in Thailand and Vietnam remained quiet, traders said on Thursday.

A farmer winnows rice in a field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, November 4, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

In India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, prices for 5-percent broken parboiled rice rose by $3 to $387-$392 a tonne this week on an appreciation in the rupee and a rise in paddy prices in the local market.

The rupee has risen 6 percent so far in 2017 and is trading near its highest level in 21 months, trimming returns for exporters.

The strengthening rupee is also pushing up prices in dollar terms, making Indian supplies less competitive, said a rice exporter based in Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.

Local paddy prices were firm on thinner supply.

“Paddy supply from winter crops is lower than anticipated,” said another exporter based in Kakinada.

India mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East.

Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice remained at $360-$375 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, in a quiet market.

“Prices will likely stay at this level for a while,” a trader in Bangkok said.

The Thai government will open a state auction for 1.03 million tonnes of spoiled and sub-standard rice from state stockpiles on Friday.

Vietnam’s 5-percent broken rice dropped slightly to $350 a tonne, FOB Saigon, from $350-$355 last week, with traders citing a quiet market amid weak demand.

Rice exports by Vietnam in the first four months of 2017 are estimated to fall 7.7 percent from the same period last year to 1.86 million tonnes, the country’s farm ministry said on Wednesday.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s second and third biggest rice exporters.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in BANGKOK, and Mai Nguyen in HANOI; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri