Asia Rice-Vietnamese rates gain on hopes of deal with Philippines

* Thai rice quoted at $445-$480/tonne vs $470-$475 last week

* Philippines to buy 300,000 tonne of Vietnamese rice- trader

* Rains to delay harvesting, lower output in India- exporter

* Heavy rains damage ripening rice paddy in Bangladesh

Oct 15 (Reuters) - Vietnamese rice export prices rose this week on prospects of a new order from the Philippines, while weaker demand pushed down rates of the Thai variety for a seventh straight week.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 prices rose to $485-$490 per tonne versus last week's $470.

“Domestic rice prices have risen recently as traders are buying in anticipation of a move by the Philippines government to buy 300,000 tonnes soon,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

However, weaker demand kept trading relatively muted this week, another trader said.

The country’s rice exports in September fell 36.4% from the previous month to 385,429 tonnes, government data showed. For the January-September period, it fell 1.4% year-on-year to 4.99 million tonnes.

Thailand's benchmark 5% broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 prices fell for a seventh straight week to $445-$480 a tonne from $470-$475 last week.

Traders in Bangkok attributed the decline mainly to a sustained period of low demand, while they expected new supply towards the end of the month to further weigh on the market.

Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety RI-INBKN5-P1 rates remained unchanged at $376-$382 per tonne, even as heavy rainfall in southern states hit the paddy crop primed for harvest.

“In many coastal districts, paddy crop has been damaged. This is set to delay harvesting by a few weeks and could lower production as well,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Heavy rains also damaged paddy in neighboring Bangladesh, agriculture officials said, adding it was a little early to know the exact extent of crop losses in the country, where prices of the staple grain keep rising.

While market insiders have said the government needs to start importing rice without any delay, a decision on that was still pending, according to food ministry officials.

Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; Editing by Arpan Varghese and Amy Caren Daniel