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5 May 2009

Rice props up Vietnam’s sagging exports

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Vietnam’s agricultural and seafood exports reached nearly $5.2 billion in the first four months of the year, a rise of 7.5 percent over the same period last year, with higher rice exports largely accounting for the increase, Vietnam Business News quoted the Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development as saying.

During the period, Vietnam exported 2.53 million tonnes of rice with a total value of $1.16 billion, an increase of 51 percent in volume and 42.5 percent in value over the same period last year. The average export price was slightly higher, at $456 per tonne.

The Philippines continued to be the leading importer of Vietnamese rice, consuming 45.4 percent of the nation's total exports.

However, other major cash crop such as coffee, tea, cashews and black pepper dipped in both export volume and value.

Seafood, one of Vietnam's top hard-currency earners, suffered its first drop in 10 years due to the adverse effects of the global recession and bad press in the major markets of Italy, Russia and Egypt.

The sector earned $300 million in exports in April, bringing the total value of the four-month period to $1.05 billion, a fall of 8 percent from the same period last year.

The ministry has set a target of $12.5 billion for agricultural and seafood exports for the whole year, a decrease of $3.7 billion from last year.











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