ASIA RICE-Demand slows as wet spell clouds India's crop quality outlook
India rates unchanged at $374 to $382 per tonne
No major supply disruption despite floods - Thai traders
Vietnamese rates flat at $425-$430 per tonne
By Arundhati Sarkar
Oct 20 (Reuters) - Heavy rainfall in key rice-producing states in India left traders anxious about the crop in the top exporter, while prices of the staple from Thailand slumped to a nearly three-month low this week on tepid demand.
Thailand's 5% broken rice prices <RI-THBKN5-P1> fell on Thursday to $405-$407 per tonnes, their lowest since end-July, from $410-$420 a week ago.
The decline in prices comes against the backdrop of muted demand in overseas and domestic markets, Thai traders said, adding there has been no major supply disruption despite floods.
Heavy rain and storms since last month have caused flooding in 59 of Thailand's 77 provinces, damaging some farmlands.
Meanwhile, prices of India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> were unchanged at $374 to $382 per tonne, as demand was subdued by concerns that a fresh spell of rainfall could reduce the quality of the paddy in the top exporter.
The key rice-producing eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal were likely to receive heavy rainfall next week because of a low-pressure weather system.
"If rains are excessive, it certainly will hamper the quality of crop if not quantity," said Himanshu Agarwal, executive director at Satyam Balajee, an exporter.
Heavy rainfall in India has already damaged rice just before harvest in some key producing states.
Vietnam, 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> was flat at $425-$430 per tonne, free on board.
"We are seeing an uptick in demand with more orders coming in," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding this year's exports from Vietnam could be higher than forecast.
Preliminary shipping data showed 345,600 tonnes of rice are to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port in the Oct 1-28 period, with most of them heading to the Philippines, Africa, Cuba and Bangladesh. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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