Weaker currencies push Indian, Thai export rates lower



* Thai rates dip to over five-month low

* Bangladesh looking to buy more rice, mostly from India

* Vietnamese paddy rates also dip amid concerns over quality

By Arpan Varghese

April 8 (Reuters) - Rice export prices for the Indian and Thai varieties slipped this week due to weakness in rupee and baht, while Vietnamese activity slowed post a harvest.

Rates for top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled rice RI-INBKN5-P1 fell for a second straight week to $390-$395 per tonne from $393-$398 last week, as the rupee dipped to a near five-month low.

The rupee's depreciation, translating into higher margins for traders, has allowed exporters to lower prices, said an exporter based in Kakinada in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

"Export demand is good. Our exports jumped sharply last month as well," he said.

Bangladesh, traditionally the world's third-biggest rice producer which has accelerated imports to shore up depleted stocks, issued a new tender to buy 50,000 tonnes, while another tender for a similar quality from an Indian firm was approved, food ministry officials said.

It is also looking to buy more rice under state-to-state deals, mostly from India.

This comes as a storm damaged rice crops in wetland areas, known as Haor, in the north eastern part of Bangladesh this week.

Thailand's 5% broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 prices declined to $465-$482 per tonne, an over five-month low on average, from $488-$500 last week.

Bangkok-based traders said the dip was largely due to a nearly 4% drop in the baht since the start of March THB=TH , and in part also due to a market slowdown ahead of the Thai New Year holidays next week.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 fell to $495-$500 per tonne from $505-$510 last week on weak demand.

"Trade activity is slow this week as farmers in the Mekong Delta region have completed their winter-spring harvest," a trader in An Giang province said.

Traders said domestic paddy prices have fallen recently due to poor quality.

"Some rice drying facilities in the area were overloaded during the harvest, impacting quality," another trader said.
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok and Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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