RPT-Asia Rice-Thai rates slip as demand drops, rains hamper Vietnamese harvest

(Repeats from Thursday July 2)

* Rains in Mekong Delta hamper Vietnamese harvest-trader

* India rates flat amid moderate demand, appreciating rupee

* Bangladesh could import rice as domestic prices soar

BENGALURU, July 2 (Reuters) - Thai rice export prices fell to the lowest in a month this week as demand sagged, while Vietnamese rates rose as persistent rain continued to hamper the harvest.

Thailand's benchmark 5-percent broken rice prices RI-THBKN5-P1 slipped to $480-$515 from $514-$520 last week.

Prices fell to the lowest level since late-May, with traders also attributing the dip to a weaker baht.

“There is very little demand for Thai rice right now in the overseas market,” a Bangkok-based trader said.

However, Thai rates were still higher than those of competitors Vietnam and India after a drought hammered production earlier this year.

“The supply concern will continue until new supply enters the market, most likely early next month, until then our rice prices (will) remain higher than our competitors,” another rice trader said.

In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 rose to $415-$450 per tonne on Thursday from last week's $405-$450 range.

The winter-spring rice prices were unchanged from last week at $450 per tonne, while rates for the ongoing summer-autumn harvest rose to $415-$420 per tonne, from $405-$410, traders said.

“Demand for Vietnamese rice remains weak, but prices of the summer-autumn harvest have edged up because persistent rain in the Mekong Delta has slowed down the harvest,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding rain is forecast to subside from mid-July which would lead to better rice quality.

Prices for top exporter India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety RI-INBKN5-P1 were unchanged at $373-$378 per tonne.

“Demand is moderate. We could not lower prices due to appreciating rupee,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian rupee on Thursday hit a two-month high, trimming traders’ margin from overseas sales.

Bangladesh could import rice to rein in soaring domestic prices, the country’s food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar said, while the government struggled to secure supplies locally.

“We will be compelled to import rice if the millers don’t supply at the rate fixed by the government,” he said.

The government is procuring rice at 36 taka ($0.43) a kg locally. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok; editing by Arpbn Varghese and Jane Merriman)