ASIA RICE-India prices hit 2-yr peak; Vietnam grapples with supply woes

* Indian prices more competitive than Thai offers- exporter

* Vietnam continues to buy low quality rice from India- traders

* Thai rice prices hover near nine-month peak

* Bangladesh to buy 100,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar

By Eileen Soreng

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Rice export prices in India rose to their highest level in nearly two years on the back of healthy demand and an appreciating rupee, while a slow harvest squeezed supply and lifted Vietnamese rates.

Top exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted at $390-$394 per tonne this week, the highest since March 2019. Last week, prices were at $385-$391.

"Asian and African buyers are aggressively making purchases from India. Even after marginal price rise, Indian rice is far cheaper than Thai rice," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> rose to $505-$510 per tonne on Thursday from $500-505 last week on tight supplies.

"Though the winter-spring harvest has started, supplies remain low... Only 5%-6% of the crop has been harvested, and it won't peak until late February or early March," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Trading activity is slow as buyers are waiting for the harvest to peak, traders said.

Meanwhile, Vietnam continued to buy low quality rice from India for beer production and animal feed, they added.

Thai rice prices were still lingering near a nine-month high, but traders were hopeful prices would ease a little with signs of the baht depreciating against the U.S. dollar.

Thailand's benchmark 5% broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices widened slightly to $520-$530 per tonne on Thursday, from last week's $520-$526.

"The market is still quiet but it is likely to pick up, as prices quoted by Vietnam were also edging higher and closer to ours and the baht has started to weaken slightly" a Bangkok-based trader said.

Bangladesh, which is striving to replenish its depleted reserves after last year's floods, will buy 100,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok, Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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