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Rice exports slowing down   2008-09-23 -

Rice traders say that hardly any ships dock at HCM City ports these days to collect rice. Rice exports have been going slowly, according to the Agriculture and Rural Development Information Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).


The centre quoted officials of MARD as saying that foreign rice traders may know about the high output of Vietnam’s summer-autumn crop and they have decided not to make deals at this moment, hoping that prices will go down further.


The low demand from rice importers has led to rice price decreases in the last week. 10% and 15% broken rice was traded at $560/tonne last week, a decrease of $35/tonne over the week before, while 25% broken rice was traded at $500/tonne, down by $15/tonne.


According to MARD, Vietnam’s rice export activities have nearly been ‘frozen’ for the last two weeks. Big rice importers like Indonesia and the Philippines have lowered their import volumes. Indonesia, the biggest rice importer in the world, has announced it has enough rice to meet domestic demand for 2008 and it may export rice in 2009.


In 2007, the country imported 700,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam, or 30% of Vietnam’s rice exports. The Philippines finished purchasing rice for the 2008 demand in June. The country, hearing about the oversupply of the summer-autumn crop in Vietnam, is trying to force prices down.


Preliminary statistics show that each of the 11 provinces in the Mekong River Delta, the granary of Vietnam, now has at least 100,000 tonnes in stock, while An Giang, Long An, Dong Thap and Kien Giang provinces now have 500-600,000 tonnes of rice unsold. As such, some 3 million tonnes of rice have been left among farmers.


It is expected that the volume of unsold rice will increase in the time to come, when farmers harvest the autumn-winter crop.

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