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Vietnam's rice export prices at two-year high

By Hong Chau   June 6, 2020 | 07:16 pm PT
Vietnam's rice export prices at two-year high
Rice traders at a market in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tran.
Average rice export price in the first four months hit $470.2 per ton, up 10 percent year-on-year, the highest in the last two years.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's agro processing and market development department also said that May was an active month for the world rice export market with several countries stocking up on the grain because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, global rice export prices rose to its highest level in years.

Vietnam's rice export prices increased, too. The average price of the five percent broken rice variety was at $473-477 per ton, while that for jasmine rice (also known as fragrant rice) rose highest to $558-562 a ton.

Vietnam's rice prices in 2019 ranged from $376-420 per ton and were around $380-502 per ton in 2018.

In the world market, the export price of Indian rice has reached its highest level in the past one year due to strong demand from African and Asian countries. The price of Thai rice decreased in the past month due to an increase of new suppliers and fierce competition from cheaper suppliers in India and Vietnam.

The agro processing and market development department expects global demand for rice to continue rising.

The Philippines is seeking to import an additional 300,000 tons of rice to strengthen its reserves and prepare for the low-supply season in the third quarter.

Bangladesh has also purchased an additional 200,000 tons of rice from the ongoing harvest season to secure supply for domestic relief operations amid the spread of the pandemic in the country.

China has already achieved 95 percent of its food self-sufficiency (rice, maize, wheat) target, but still allows importing a certain amount through the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system. Accordingly, the country allows domestic traders to import at a tax rate of only one percent compared to the out-of-quota of 65 percent.

The latest forecast of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates world rice production in 2020 at 493.8 million tons, down about 0.5 percent from last year, while global consumption is expected to reach 490.2 million tons, a 0.9 percent year-on-year increase.

Vietnam's rice exports in May reached 789,000 tons with a value of about $415 million. The five-month total volume and export value reached nearly 2.9 million tons and $1.41 billion, up 5.1 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2019.

In the first four months of the year, the Philippines was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 40.5 percent market share at 902,100 tons worth $401.3 million.

Other markets with stronger rice imports from Vietnam were China and Indonesia, both seeing a 2.7-fold increase year-on-year; Taiwan, up 67.9 percent; and Ghana, up 39.3.

Vietnam, the world's third largest rice exporter, is likely to ship seven million tons this year, official agencies have said.

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