Vietnam rice exports soar

Vietnam could export 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year. — PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI – VIETNAM could export 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday, meaning a rise of about 43 per cent from last year, helped by a big Philippine contract.

Exporters have so far secured deals totalling 3.1 million tonnes and are about to sign more contracts, the Agriculture Ministry’s Nong Nghiep Vietnam newspaper said, quoting Vietnam Food Association Chairman Truong Thanh Phong.

That amount includes part of a major contract to supply 1.5 million tonnes to the Philippines this year. Some 500,000 tonnes of the 25 per cent broken grain variety is to be delivered in February and March. No schedule has been given for the remainder.

Vietnam, the world’s second-largest rice exporter after Thailand, is targeting total exports this year of 4.5 million to 5 million tonnes. It shipped 2.44 million tonnes in the first half of 2008.

The Southeast Asian country exported 310,000 tonnes of rice in January alone, a record for any month since it began selling the grain abroad in 1989, Phong told Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat at a meeting on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Phong said export prices could rise as China was facing a severe drought while India has yet to lift a rice export ban.

India was likely to enter the market after its general elections in April or May as its silos were overflowing after a record harvest in 2008, traders said.

Quotations for Vietnam’s 25 per cent broken rice have risen around 13 per cent this month after news of the deal with the Philippines, the Vietnam Food Association said on Tuesday. — REUTERS


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