Rice prices surge to new record

Rice prices surge to new record

A person looks at rice packs in a store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Prices of Vietnam’s broken rice have surged to a new record of up to $660 per ton this week, up nearly 12% from last week, as global supply dwindles.

Rice prices have been going up throughout this year, from a $450 per ton average in the first quarter to $590 per ton earlier this month, said Tran Duy Dong, head of the trade department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, at a meeting Friday.

One of the reasons for the rise is that India on July 20 banned the exports of non-Basmati white rice to tame surging domestic prices. India accounts for more than 40% of global rice trade.

Some companies are now selling rice at $620-660, the highest ever, said Nguyen Thi Bich Huyen, a representative of rice exporter Ngoc Hoa in Can Tho City.

But the price jump is putting rice exporters in difficulties, as many of them have signed contracts with buyers at past prices even though Vietnamese farmers are now demanding a much higher rate, she said.

This means that exporters have to bear losses on some contracts, she added.

Vietnam exported $2.58 billion worth of rice in the first seven months, up nearly 30% year-on-year.

Asia bought over 77% of all exports volume. Some markets saw a jump in demand, such as the EU, where imports rose 28% year-on-year.

Vietnam is set to produce 20 million tons of rice this year, enough for both domestic consumption and exports, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nguyen Ngoc Nam, chairman of Vietnam Food Association, said that Vietnam had now surpassed Thailand to be the second-biggest rice exporter globally behind India.

The country still has 2.2 million tons of rice left in its exports plan for this year, which is within its capacity, he added.

“Our rice quality meets the requirements of most markets in the world, and demands for rice globally will be high in the remaining months,” he said, adding that this was a golden opportunity for exporters to find new buyers and markets.

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said that Vietnam needed to protect its rice brand in global trade while ensuring domestic food security.

Source: VNexpress, 2023