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Rice prices hit 6-year high as Thailand and Vietnam face drought

Saltwater damage and urbanization also take toll

HANOI/BANGKOK -- International prices of rice have surged as droughts keep production low in key exporters Thailand and Vietnam, while panic buying amid the coronavirus pandemic is also tightening supply.

The benchmark export price of Thai-grown rice reached about $550 a ton in late March, the highest since August 2013, according to the country's trade commission. Vietnamese rice also exceeded $400 a ton, a level not seen since December 2018.

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