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315313

ASIA RICE-Thai rates tumble to 17-month trough as baht wilts

* India prices hit seven-month low as rupee depreciates

* Dhaka approves tender to buy 50,000 tonnes of rice from India

* Thailand's big rice export price drop due to low demand- trader

* Vietnamese exporters lowering rates to stay competitive- trader

By Swati Verma

June 24 (Reuters) - Export prices of rice from top Asian hubs fell this week, with a drop in the baht and weak demand driving Thai rates to levels last seen in December 2019, while a sliding rupee and higher supplies weighed on the Indian market.

Top exporter India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> fell to the lowest level in seven months at $369-$373 per tonne from last week's $374-$379.

The continuous drop in the rupee and higher supplies from government warehouses are allowing traders to lower prices, said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Thailand's 5% broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices declined to $420-$430 per tonne on Thursday, from $440-$486 last week.

The Thai baht slid to the lowest in one year against the U.S. dollar, which translates into lower rice export prices after the currency conversion, traders said.

"The large price drop is due to low rice demand and the baht weakening," a Bangkok-based trader said.

In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> fell to $478-$482 a tonne on Thursday from $483-$487 a week earlier.

"Exporters in other rice producing countries have lowered their prices, prompting Vietnamese exporters to do the same to keep Vietnamese (variety) competitive, but sales are still very slow," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Customs data showed Vietnam exported 181,700 tonnes of rice in the first half of June, raising the country's total rice shipments in the year to June 15 to 2.77 million tonnes valued at $1.5 billion.

Domestic rice prices in Bangladesh rose again this week which officials blamed on hoarding to create an artificial crisis for windfall profits.

The country approved a tender to buy 50,000 tonnes of rice from India at $399.90 a tonne as the government battles to shore up dwindling reserves after repeated floods last year destroyed crops and sent local prices to record highs. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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