An ongoing rise in Vietnam's rice price is the continuation of a trend that began last year when Chinese and Indonesian importers upped their consumption of the Vietnamese staple.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development indicated that Vietnam exported an estimated 900,000 tonnes of rice worth VND11.3 trillion (US$480 million) in March, taking the total volume and value of rice exports in the first three months of the year to 1.79 million tonnes and VND22.3 trillion ($952 million), respectively.
While the total value of Vietnamese rice exports surged 30 percent against the same period last year, the volume fell 19 percent.
From January to March, Vietnam’s rice export price averaged VND12.5 million ($531) per tonne, up 9.2 percent year on year.
During the first two months of 2023, Vietnam shipped 401,980 tonnes of rice valued at VND4.8 trillion ($204.69 million) to the Philippines, making the archipelago Vietnam’s largest rice buyer, accounting for 43 percent of the total Vietnamese rice exports.
Though these numbers are impressive, they represent a 25-percent drop in volume and a 17-percent slip in value against the same period last year.
Notably, Indonesia logged the sharpest growth in rice imports among Vietnam’s rice buyers with a 304-fold increase in January and February compared to the same period last year.
The export price of Vietnamese 5% broken rice now stands at VND10.5 million ($450) per tonne, up VND117,360 ($5) since the beginning of March.
Local rice traders attributed the climb to the recovery of rice sales to China and Indonesia beefing up rice imports.
Other factors which contributed to the ascent include the central bank cutting operating interest rates in mid-March, which has helped bolster export activities, including rice outbound sales.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s 5% broken rice is currently priced at VND10.7 million ($455) per tonne, down VND422,460 ($18) against the average price in February. The country’s currency has also weakened, taking a heavy toll on the export price of its rice.
In India, 5% broken rice sells for VND8.9-9.1 million ($382-387) per tonne, down VND328,850 ($14) against the February average, dragged by the weakening rupee.
Domestic raw rice prices still volatile
The local market is seeing volatility in unhusked rice prices throughout the Mekong Delta.
An Giang Province is currently quoting medium-grade raw rice (IR50404) at VND5,900 (25 cents) per kilogram, down VND400 (1.7 cents) per kilogram against February.
High-grade raw rice sells for VND6,100 (26 cents) per kilogram in the province, down VND300 (1.3 cents) against February.
In Kien Giang Province, prices of raw rice have tumbled as the province prepares to enter the harvest season.
OM 5451 fragrant rice is priced at VND6,200-6,300 (26-27 cents) per kilogram, down VND700 (2.9 cents) per kilogram against the previous month.
Meanwhile, the price of unhusked rice in Vinh Long Province has seen an uptick.
The prices of husked rice of all varieties in the southern region remain stable, while those in the northern market have inched downward.
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