Vietnam struggles to find buyers for over 1 million tons of rice

By VnExpress   November 15, 2016 | 12:40 am PT
Vietnam struggles to find buyers for over 1 million tons of rice
Farmers work on a terraced paddy field for the new rice season in Vietnam's northern Mu Cang Chai district, 360 km northwest of Hanoi. Photo by Reuters
For the first time in eight years, rice exports are projected to fall below 6 million tons.

Vietnam is sitting on a stockpile of 1.2 million tons of rice, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

In addition to excessive supplies from other rivals like Thailand, Pakistan and India, the country has recorded lower rice demand from key export markets.

Data from Vietnam Customs showed that China, Vietnam’s largest buyer, imported 153,000 tons of rice for $66.2 million in October, down 10 percent in volume and 12 percent in value against September.

The country also saw falls in rice export volumes to other main markets such as the Philippines (91 percent), Hong Kong (26.3 percent) and Singapore (8.1 percent).

Rice traders say they are unlikely to reach this year’s export target with global demand falling behind supply.

China has already used up its official rice import quota for this year, while the Phillippines is unlikely to purchase any more before the year-end.

The Philippines is going to call for bids for an additional 250,000 tons of rice, but bidders will have to wait until late November to find out about deliveries scheduled for early 2017.

Other markets have yet to send any clear signals so far.

“At present, it’s impossible to foresee the picture for Vietnam’s rice exports. Apart from small contracts from China and the Philippines, the country is going through a quiet phase,” the VFA said.

Vietnam’s rice exports in the first 10 months hit 4.2 million tons, jumping by 21.2 percent on-year, but export value fell by 16.9 percent to about $1.9 billion.

For the first time in eight years, the VFA has lowered its annual forecast for rice exports to under six million tons.

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