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MUMBAI/HANOI/BANGKOK, April 6 (Reuters) - Rice export prices firmed in India on a stronger rupee, while the rates rose in Vietnam on concerns that rainfall could affect crops during peak harvest season.
India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices RI-INBKN5-P1 rose by $2 per tonne to $375 to $380 a tonne this week, as gains in the rupee led exporters to raise prices. The rupee was near its highest level in about 18 months.
"Higher paddy prices and rising rupee is forcing exporters to raise export prices. The demand is moderate," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
India, the world's biggest rice exporter, mainly exports non-basmati rice to African countries and premier basmati rice to the Middle East. Its rice output could rise by 4.3 percent to a record high of 108.86 million tonnes in 2016/17.
Traders in Vietnam, the world's third-largest rice exporter, were worried about the quality of rice as rain in key-producing areas has already affected the grain.
Rainfall could hit the quality of harvest, said a Ho Chi Minh-based trader, adding that Vietnamese prices are still less competitive than Thai prices.
Prices of the 5 percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 rose to $352-$355 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) Saigon, from $348-$350 a tonne last week, traders said.
Vietnam's rice exports are expected to plunge 23.9 percent annually to 1.19 million tonnes in the first quarter, after the grain shipments dropped 26.5 percent in 2016 due to lower output caused by climate changes, the government said.
Thai rice market is closed for a national holiday on Thursday. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, My Pham in Hanoi and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)