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August 30, 2008

Vietnam’s rice export target raised
Rice exporters in Vietnam have signed contracts until September to bring total rice exports to 3.5 million tonnes, state news agency VNA quoted the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) as saying.

Vietnam exported 3.38 million tonnes of rice in the first eight months of the year, earning over $2.2 billion, the General Statistics Office reported.

With bumper crops in both the northern and southern granaries, the country expected to reap a total of 37 million tonnes of rice this year, one million tonnes more than in 2007, said the VFA.

To create more favourable conditions for enterprises purchasing rice for export, the Government had permitted a delayed collection of taxes for rice exports with prices below US$800 per tonne, the Ministry of Finance said.

Nguyen Thanh Bien, Deputy Minister of industry and trade, said that the association and rice exporters who had signed contracts on exporting rice should boost deliveries of exports of 100,000-200,000 tonnes in September.

To complete the government plan to export a total of 4.5-4.6 million tonnes this year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also asked the association and its members to enhance the signing of rice-export contracts

Experts have forecast that the world rice market would become more stable in the year-end months, following strong fluctuations during the first half, as major rice producers have started to harvest crops with yields higher than last year, and importers have nearly fulfilled their yearly import targets.

Rice prices on the world market have reduced by between 35 and 42 per cent from record highs in late May.

Vietnam's 5 percent broken rice slipped to $600 per tonne from its previous $1,050 per tonne.

However, the pundits have said that the downward trend would stop by the end of the year and rice prices would rebound due to lower stockpiles compared with previous years and the recent global food crisis.

Shrinking cultivation areas and higher production costs were also factors that pushed up rice prices across the world, they said, pointing to the fact that the current prices were almost double the US$320-340 per tonne figures from just one year ago.

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