Vietnam may overtake Thailand to become the world’s leading rice exporter before 2015 as rice prices are higher in Thailand than in Vietnam, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, an adviser and former president of the association, said that Thailand’s rice exports may drop to 8 million tonnes this year. In 2009, Thailand exported 8.6 million tonnes of rice while Vietnam exported only 6 million tonnes.
However, the gap between rice prices in Thailand and Vietnam is widening. According figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the price of Thailand’s 5 percent broken rice was priced at US$68 higher than Vietnam’s in 2008, and the difference in price rose to US$123 in 2009.
The value of the Vietnamese dong has also fallen since 2008, resulting in cheaper Vietnamese rice exports compared to the previous two years. In contrast, the value of Thailand’s Baht increased from 33.53 Baht per US dollar to 32.38 Baht per US dollar during the same period.
Mr. Chookiat also noted that the cost of transport and labour in Vietnam is lower than in Thailand.
Figures from the International Rice Research Institute show that since 1980, Thailand has passed the US and become the world’s leading rice exporter, meanwhile Vietnam’s rice exports in 1988 exceeded 1 million tonnes after the government applied a market-oriented policy to develop the agricultural sector.-VOV
Thai rice exporters see 8.5 mln tonnes 2011 shipments
Vietnam May Free Rice Stockpiles to Cool Prices
Vietnam, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, may release grain held in government stockpiles to cool the local market after a surge in export demand helped to drive domestic prices to a record.
“We are ready and will immediately sell the national rice stockpile, which is more than 1 million tons, to cool domestic rice prices if there is any sign of food-price fever,” Diep Kinh Tan, deputy minister of agriculture and rural development, said by phone yesterday. The ministry hadn’t seen signs that such a move is necessary yet, he said.
Thailand, the biggest shipper and Vietnam’s main rival, is bringing back a policy of buying rice from farmers at above- market prices to boost rural incomes, pushing Thai export rates to the highest level since February 2010. Costlier rice, staple for half the world, boosts food costs and helps fan inflation even amid signs that global economic growth may be faltering.
“In the last two weeks, we’ve seen a 10 percent increase in prices in Vietnam, compared to say 2 percent or 3 percent elsewhere,” said Darren Cooper, London-based senior economist at the International Grains Council. Given the developments in Thailand, as well an export ban on some Indian rice grades, “everybody’s been looking at Vietnam as the obvious supplier.”
Rough-rice on the Chicago Board of Trade, which traded at $17.12 per 100 pounds at 8:23 a.m. in Singapore, has rallied 55 percent in the past year, beating wheat and soybeans. The price of 100 percent grade-B Thai rice, the export benchmark, was $582 per metric ton on Aug. 17, 22 percent higher than a year ago.
India, the second-biggest grower, banned private companies from exporting non-basmati rice in April 2008 to bolster local supplies amid a global food crisis. The country may consider allowing extra exports, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said Aug. 17.
Worldwide food costs reached an all-time high in February and remained within 2 percent of that peak in June, according to a 55-item gauge from the Food & Agriculture Organization. Global food prices remain close to their peak and low stockpiles may contribute to higher prices, the World Bank said on Aug. 15.
Vietnamese domestic unmilled rice was 7,100 dong (34 cents) to 7,200 dong per kilogram this week, a record, according to Cao Thi Ngoc Hoa, deputy head of Vietnam Southern Food Corp., one of the country’s two biggest state-owned food companies. Prices were about 6,500 dong in the week to July 28, according to data on the website of the Vietnam Food Association’s, or VFA.
“Some companies signed more forward contracts this year on anticipation that domestic prices would fall, which usually happens when the harvest begins,” Hoa said by phone on Aug. 17. “Prices didn’t drop, they rose instead, so those companies had to buy in a hurry and that pushed up prices even more.”
Demand for Vietnamese rice has increased in traditional and new markets this year, the VFA said on July 15. China has started buying from Vietnam after bad weather hurt its crop, Deputy Agriculture Minister Tan said the same day.
Vietnam, which exported a record 6.75 million tons last year, according to the VFA, is targeting 7.4 million tons of exports this year, and will try to ship more given good crops and prices, Tan told Bloomberg last month. Exports in the first seven months of 2011 were estimated at 4.7 million tons, 9 percent higher than a year earlier, according to figures from the General Statistics Office in Hanoi released on July 22.
The country has so far signed contracts to export about 6.3 million tons in 2011, Huynh Minh Hue, the VFA’s general- secretary, said Aug. 17. About 1.5 million tons of that total have yet to be shipped, which may sustain high prices, he said.
Prices have risen even as the country expects production to be higher this year than in 2010. Output of unmilled rice may increase 4 percent to 41.6 million tons, according to an Aug. 16 statement on the Vietnamese government website that cited a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development forecast.
“Prices are so high because export demand exceeded available supply,” the VFA’s Hue said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg questions. Prices may remain “firm” until the first quarter of 2012, depending on Thai rates and whether India resumes exports, he said.
Vietnamese exporters delayed shipments after prices climbed, according to Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, prompting African, Indonesian and Philippine buyers to switch purchases to Thailand. Thai exporters may receive orders for as much as 100,000 tons as a result, Chookiat said by telephone from Bangkok yesterday.
As of Aug. 15, Vietnamese 5-percent broken rice for export was $568 a ton, compared to $549 a ton for Thai 5-percent broken rice, according to International Grains Council data. At the start of the month, the Vietnamese grade was priced at a $22 discount. Thai grades typically trade at a $20 to $40 premium to their Vietnamese equivalents.
Rice festival to honor “Vietnamese pearl”: organizers
The second Vietnam Rice Festival will take place in the southern province of Soc Trang on November 8-11 this year to glorify the commodity, which makes the country known as a world leading rice exporter, the organizers announced Tuesday.
“The festival is a significant economic, cultural, social and tourism event of the country, mainly to honor those who make and export Vietnamese rice, or Vietnamese pearl,” Soc Trang Province Chairman Nguyen Trung Hieu told a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City.
Involved in organizing the national event are the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Industry and Trade; Culture, Sport and Tourism; Information and Communications; Vietnam Food Association and other Government agencies, he added.
The festival is coincided with the Khmer people’s Water Festival – the most important event in the year of the ethnic minority group.
More than 20 countries and territories have agreed to join the Rice Festival, including India, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Netherlands, , Chile, Russia, Thailand, Canada, the US and Indonesia, according to the organizers. The foreign partners will take part in gastronomy pavilions, exhibitions, cultural activities and workshops.
Vietnam shipped 4.61 million tons of rice between January and July up 16.7 percent in volume from a year ago. The shipments brought home US$2.18 billion, a 26 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Food Association.
Vietnam currently ranks second in the world in rice exports after Thailand, but the country’s promotion work remains weak, according to market analysts.
Because of that, this rice festival is a good opportunity to connect Vietnamese producers with domestic and foreign traders, aiming to bring Vietnam’s rice products to more potential markets, according to Mr. Vo Minh Chien, Party chief of Soc Trang Province and head of the Steering Board for the festival.
The first Vietnam Rice festival took place in 2009 in Hau Giang, another Mekong Delta province.
The delta region contributes over half of the country’s rice output, 90 per cent of rice export, 65 per cent of fisheries production and 70 per cent of fruit.
Rice Festival 2011 highlights
Asia Rice-Vietnamese prices near 3-year high,
Compared with the end of July, when Vietnam sold a record of 1 million tonnes, including 500,000 tonnes to Indonesia, prices have risen more than 6 percent.
Thai rice prices also rose, but in contrast to the situation in Vietnam, that was not due to strong demand but because of a stronger Thai baht and speculation about the policies of the incoming government, traders said.
"Exporters need to offer at higher prices in dollar terms to offset the drop in their earnings in Thai baht as the currency is stronger," said Kiattisak Kallayasirivat of Novel Agritrade.
The baht and other Asian currencies rose on Wednesday, supported by a rebound in share prices. At 0602 GMT, the baht was at 29.81 per dollar versus 29.88 on Tuesday.
The benchmark 100 percent B grade Thai white rice RI-THWHB-P1 was offered at $560 a tonne, up from last week's $555 per tonne, exporters said.
"There was no demand at all and I think that could cut Thai exports sharply in August, as high prices have made buyers turn away from Thai-origin rice," said another Bangkok-based trader.
Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, has exported 7.5 million tonnes so far this year, up from the same period last year when it sold 4.8 million tonnes.PHUKET, Thailand, Oct 13 - Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, could export at least 8.5 million tonnes of rice in 2011 as demand is expected to remain strong, the Thai Rice Exporters Association said on Wednesday.
"The 8.5 million tonnes target is a conservative forecast as we expect that demand should remain strong since key buyers will continue to import, such as the Philippines and Indonesia," Korbsook Iamsuree, president of the association, told Reuters.
She added: "In fact, we could sell more than 8.5 million next year if the baht is not too strong."
Thailand generally exports between 8.5 million and 9.5 million tonnes of rice a year, and that is the range expected this year. In 2009 it shipped 8.6 million tonnes.