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Exporters worry as overseas demand for rice slows down

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HCMC – Many local rice exporters have voiced concerns over the low overseas demand for rice, as they have yet to clinch any new export contract in the past few weeks amid the falling global rice prices.

A report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that Vietnam’s rice export value in June plunged over 53% month-on-month to some US$182 million. In the first half of this year, the country exported 3.54 million tons of rice worth US$1.73 billion, up 5.6% in volume and 19% in value compared to the same period in 2019.

Do Ha Nam, chairman and general director of Intimex Group, forecast that rice exports during the second half of the year could remain dismal due to the subdued demand. Rice importers stockpiled a large amount of rice in the first few months of the year and may have to work out measures to promote consumption before coming up with further import plans.

According to Nguyen Van Don, director of Viet Hung Company in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, his firm did not secure any new contracts in the past three weeks.

Viet Hung exported some 60,000 tons of rice in the first half of the year, equal to the volume recorded last year. In May, the firm’s rice exports improved significantly, making up for a period of subdued trading due to a rice export suspension order, Don added.

Acknowledging that local farmers have begun to harvest summer-fall crops, importers want to lower the buying price of rice. However, farmers still expect to sell rice at prices as high as they were in the beginning of the year; thus, local rice exporters are finding it hard to sign new export contracts, he explained.

In the global market, low demand has sent rice prices down in recent weeks. As of July 9, Thai 5% broken rice was quoted at US$455-US$485 per ton, the lowest over the past four months. India’s 5% broken rice was sold at US$366-US$372 per ton, the lowest since March 26, according to the Vietnam Food Association.

In Vietnam, its 5% broken rice fell from US$475 per ton to US$450, the lowest in two months.

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