Indian rice export rates, on the other hand, recovered from four-and-a-half-year lows this week, buoyed by improved overseas demand, although high shipping costs continued to dampen sales.

India's 5 per cent broken parboiled variety was quoted in the $355 to $360 per tonne range this week, up from last week's $352-$356 level.

"At lower price level, demand is coming from African countries," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, adding that some buyers were delaying purchases as freight charges remain high.

Similarly, in Thailand, freight charges remained a challenge as there were fewer ships available.

However, prices of Thailand's 5 per cent broken rice edged up slightly to $390-$403 per tonne from $387-$400 per tonne a week ago as the baht strengthened.

According to Bangkok-based traders, demand for Thai rice has stayed largely unchanged, while the baht has appreciated by nearly 2 per cent since last Thursday.

Vietnam's 5 per cent broken rice prices were unchanged at $385 per tonne, even as Covid-19 lockdowns forced many exporters to ask clients to delay their delivery.

"Trading remains slow on weak demand and logistical difficulties due to coronavirus restrictions," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Vietnam's rice exports this year are estimated at 6 million tonnes, down 4 per cent, state media reports cited the agriculture ministry as saying on Thursday.

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