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Vietnam Food Assoc Official says no Immediate Plan to Curb Rice Exports

HANOI, July 31 (Reuters) - Vietnam has no immediate plans to restrict rice exports, a senior official of the country's food association said on Monday, after India's export curbs sparked worries about global supplies of the staple.

"At the moment, Vietnamese companies are exporting rice normally," said Nguyen Ngoc Nam, chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, which represents the country's rice processors and exporters and works closely with the government.

India, which accounts for 40% of world rice exports, ordered a halt to its largest export category more than a week ago to calm domestic prices, which have climbed to multi-year highs in recent weeks as erratic weather threatened production.

Nam said prices of Vietnamese rice had soared since India's move on July 20, adding that the harvest of the summer-autumn crop was ongoing in Vietnam, which is the world's third largest rice exporter after India and Thailand.

Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices rose to $550-$575 per metric ton on Monday, traders said, their highest since 2011, from a range of $515-$525 before India's move.

A day after India's export curb announcement, Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade called on the association to ensure sufficient domestic rice supplies and food security, and asked traders to balance between exports and domestic sales to stabilise domestic prices.

Rice shipments from Vietnam in the first seven months of this year were estimated to have risen about 18.7% from a year earlier to 4.84 million tonnes, according to the government's preliminary data. Revenue from rice exports in the period was seen up 29.6% at $2.58 billion.

On Friday, the United Arab Emirates announced it would ban rice exports and re-exports for four months, including rice of Indian origin.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Saturday the country must boost its rice stocks and that he may seek a supply deal with India, worried about the potential impact of El Nino dry weather on the local harvest and about other suppliers.

The Philippines is Vietnam's largest rice buyer.

Reporting by Khanh Vu Editing by David Evans and Mark Potter

Source: Reuters

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