India loses out on some orders as prices near 2-month high

* Exporters in Hanoi face worker shortages

* No buyers for Thai rice even as rain aids crop- trader

* Bangladesh domestic prices continue rising despite hefty imports

By Arundhati Sarkar

Sept 16 (Reuters) - Rice export prices in India climbed to a nearly two-month peak this week on an appreciating rupee, but demand was tepid as buyers opted for cheaper offers from elsewhere.

India's 5% broken parboiled variety RI-INBKN5-P1 was quoted at $360 to $365 per tonne this week — the highest since late-July — up from last week's $358-$363.

The rupee INR=D4 has gained about 0.7% this month, trimming exporters' returns and prompting them to raise prices in dollar terms.

"Some buyers are moving to Myanmar and Pakistan, which are also offering rice at competitive prices," said an exporter in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

Yet, India could account for as much as 45% of global rice exports in 2021, thanks to expanded port-handling capacity.

Prices for Vietnam's 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 rose to $410-$420 per tonne from $400 last week, as demand improved.

Supplies from Vietnam, however, still faced hurdles due to container shortages and pandemic-led restrictions, a trader in the Mekong province of An Giang said.

"Many exporters are facing worker shortages to handle rice transport and shipments."

Thailand's 5% broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 prices eased to $380-$393 per tonne on Thursday, from $380-$402 last week, with the market quiet amid high freight costs.

"There is good supply because of rain, but there are no buyers. The government should roll out some measures to support rice farmers and exporters," a Bangkok-based trader said.

Meanwhile, domestic prices in Bangladesh, traditionally a top producer that emerged as a major buyer after floods, rose again this week despite hefty imports.

The government recently let private traders import 1.7 million tonnes and cut import duties to curb soaring prices. It imported 300,000 tonnes in the last two months, officials said.

"Around 4,000 tonnes are being imported everyday from India through land ports. But the government should lift import duty," a Dhaka-based trader said.
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, additonal reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Shinjini Ganguli

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