Vietnamese rice struggles to find buyers

By Bui Hong Nhung   August 27, 2016 | 12:05 am PT
The world’s third largest rice exporter is struggling to seal deals.

In August, Vietnam’s rice exports have reached an impasse as demand from regular markets has slowed down, Vietnam Plus reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as saying.

Export volume dropped sharply in regular markets like the Philippines (down 66.4 percent on-year), Malaysia (down 54.5 percent), Singapore (down 36.3 percent) and the U.S. (down 37.6 percent).

China, the largest recipient of Vietnamese rice (accounting for a third of total export volume), continues to tightly control unofficial rice border trade. Vietnamese rice exports to China, as a result, suffered a seven-month fall with export volume and value dropping 21.6 percent and 11.9 percent respectively against 2015’s July figures.

Additionally, no Vietnamse rice quality assurance company is recognized by the Chinese government's monitoring program, which means the Southeast Asian country's exports find it hard to penetrate its northern neighbor's market. 

Indonesia, Vietnam’s second largest rice importer, also cut back its import volume by 10.6 percent on year in July as it confirmed that the stockpiled rice volume remained at an adequate level.

Vietnam's agriculture ministry estimated that over the first eight months of 2016, Vietnam’s rice exports reached some 3.37 million tons, down 16.6 percent on year. Export value followed the same trend with an on-year fall of 13.1 percent to hit $1.51 billion.

However, the country might receive new orders from the Philippines as Vietnam, together with Thailand and Cambodia, had been invited to bid for the contract to provide 250,000 tons of rice, a source from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) revealed.

The VFA predicts that the country will export a total of 5.7 million tons of rice in 2016, falling by 14 percent on-year following the worst drought and salinity to hit the Mekong Delta in a century, which accounts for 50 percent of Vietnam’s rice exports every year.

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