ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Vietnamese rice exports hit record
Viet Nam's rice exports in the first seven months rose to a record high of nearly 4.62 milliontonnes and fetched US$2.18 billion, the Viet Nam Food Association reported.
That figure was an increase of 16.72 percent in volume and 26.07 percent in value, Huynh Minh Hue, VFA's general secretary told a meeting in HCM City yesterday.
The average free-on-board export price during the period was $473.37 per tonne, a year-on-year increase of $35.11, he said.
By July 31, VFA members had signed contracts to export 6.18 million tonnes, meaning another 1.64 million tonnes of the grain had to be shipped this year, he said.
Currently, rice remaining in stock at enterprises was about 1.39 million tonnes, lower than the volume needed to fulfill signed contracts, he said.
The summer-autumn crop was bought up very quickly since many businesses had to meet export commitments while some stockpiled waiting for higher prices, pushing up domestic prices, he said.
But though prices have risen to VND6,650 for a kilogramme of normal rice and VND6,800 for long-grain rice, supply had not met demand, he said.
VFA chairman Truong Thanh Phong said the world rice market was in a "complicated" state.
If the new Thai Government kept its promise, Thai export prices would increase to $850 a tonne for white rice and $1,400 for fragrant rice, he said.
This could throw up two scenarios. In the first, importers have to accept high prices to buy Thai rice.
Phong warned that both scenarios would lead to higher rice prices.
Le Truong Son, general director of the Dong Thap Trading Corporation, and many others at the meeting said while the Thai Government would keep its commitment, the increase would follow a roadmap and ensure there would be no price shocks like in 2008.
Hue said this was an opportunity but also a challenge to Vietnamese exporters, explaining they had the opportunity to expand their markets but there would be more risks from market volatility.
But since domestic consumers would be hit if prices rise too much, appropriate measures were needed to balance export and local consumption, he said.
Global demand was expected to remain stable until the first quarter of next year, Phong said, though demand could increase sharply in some markets.
Indonesia would import more from Vietnam in the fourth quarter and the Philippines would import rice if its stocks diminish or rice yield was hit by natural disaster, he said.
Malaysia and Bangladesh also plan to continue buying rice from Vietnam this year.
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