Asia Rice-Vietman rates drop as harvest begins, Philippines halts buying

* Philippines may not resume imports from Vietnam until next month- traders

* New crop to further weigh on Vietnam, Thailand rates- traders

* Indian export rates slip as rupee drops one-month low

* Domestic prices rise in Bangladesh

By Arundhati Sarkar

Sept 24 (Reuters) - Rice export prices fell in top hubs this week, with rates in Vietnam extending a slide as the Philippines halted purchases and the onset of a new harvest added pressure.

Vietnam's rates for 5% broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> eased to $470-$475 a tonne on Thursday, from a range of $485-$490 a tonne a week earlier.

"The autumn-winter harvest has started at some parts of the Mekong Delta, including Bac Lieu and Dong Thap provinces," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

"Prices are expected to fall further when the harvest peaks in October," the trader added.

Meanwhile, the Philippines stopped buying the staple crop from Vietnam and may not resume its imports until next month, traders said.

In Thailand, benchmark 5% broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices fell to $475-$495 per tonne on Thursday from $480-$504 last week on muted demand and a slight change in currency rates.

Traders said that supply remained stable ahead of the upcoming harvest season in late October and that the new crop could push prices down significantly more.

In India, the top rice exporting country, rates for 5% broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> were quoted around $379-$385 per tonne, down from last week's $387-$394, due to a depreciation in the rupee and weak demand.

"Demand has been moderating. Buyers are taking a pause after buying aggressively in July and August," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian rupee on Thursday fell to the lowest level in nearly a month.

Domestic prices rose in Bangladesh after a government drive to shore up supplies after floods destroyed crops fell short of its targets.

"We are assessing the reserves of rice across the country. If required, rice will be imported to keep the market price stable," Bangladesh's Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said.

The government needs to begin importing rice without any delay, traders said. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Swati Verma in Bengaluru, Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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