Rice prices resurge to record high

By Thi Ha   October 31, 2023 | 03:50 pm PT
Rice prices resurge to record high
Farmers transport rice in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai
Vietnam’s rice export prices have returned to a record high as demand for high-quality products continues to climb globally.

In the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, a farmer named Hoa said traders have been offering high prices for her Dai Thom rice.

She added that they’ve been contacting her "constantly."

"I sold my rice for VND8,000 ($0.33) per kilogram last season, an unprecedented level. But now prices have climbed to VND9,000," Hoa said, indicating a 12.5% increase.

Manh, a farmer in Vinh Long, said he has also been approached by many traders, but he has yet to sell.

"Yield is not particularly high this season, so prices are set to rise," he surmised.

A similar trend has been seen in the Central Highlands and northern regions.

Dang, who grows Dai Thom rice in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, said traders offered him VND9,000 on Oct. 26.

When he didn’t sell, they came back and offered him VND11,000 the next day, a 22% increase.

"I sold two tons and kept my remaining two for a an even higher price," Dang said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said rice prices have been rising daily recently, especially in the northern and Mekong Delta regions.

Export prices therefore have also been pushed up to $643 per ton for 5% broken rice, the highest mark in 15 years, breaking Vietnam’s previous record that was set at the end of August this year.

Vietnam’s export price for rice is now above its two major competitors: 13% higher than Thailand’s and 16% higher than Pakistan’s.

Exporters say that prices have been rising because Vietnamese rice quality has been improving, a fact that has been appreciated by global buyers.

Demand for rice in the world has also been rising, according to exporters.

Another reason is that Vietnam’s Autumn-Winter rice season produces a lower yield than other seasons, so supply is declining.

Trader Nguyen Van Tuan in the Central Highlands said that yield has dropped 50% from last season as many farmers have replaced their paddies with corn or potatoes. This has led to a limited supply of rice.

Huynh Thi Bich Huyen, CEO of rice exporting firm Ngoc Quang Phat, said it has been very difficult to buy enough rice recently due to declining supply and continuous daily price hikes.

Do Ha Nam, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, said that as domestic prices are even higher than export prices these days, traders have been reluctant to sign new export deals due to fear of not being able to fulfill the orders.

"Exporters will have to sell at $650-680 per ton to gain profits if domestic prices continue to stay at this level."

The price range he mentioned is 1.09-5.75% higher than the current level.

Demand globally is likely to remain high in the remaining months, especially from Indonesia, the Philippines, and China, he added.

Floods and storms have damaged many rice farming regions in China, while Indonesia is still looking for 1 million tons of rice to import and fill its reserves.

In the first nine months, Vietnam exported 6.6 million tons of rice, and experts have predicted that the year’s total could reach up to 7.8 million tons worth $4.5 million, which would be another new record for the country.

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