DHAKA: The boost in shipments from the world’s top exporter of the grain is set to extend into 2018 as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka continue to buy aggressively amid depleting inventories in No.2 exporter Thailand, the officials said. Bangladesh was actively buying throughout 2017. It offset the impact of slightly weaker demand from African countries,” said M. Adishankar, executive director at Sri Lalitha, a leading rice exporter located in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Bangladesh’s purchases likely lifted India’s non-basmati rice exports by 38 percent in 2017 to 8.4 million tonnes and total exports to 12.3 million tonnes, the officials and exporters said. That would surpass 2014’s record of 11.5 million tonnes. They based the 2017 export figures on their estimates for December shipments plus previously issued government data for January to November. Government numbers for December are expected to be released around the start of next month.