Vietnam’s rice exports in the second quarter ending in June could nearly double from the previous three months to 2 million tonnes, state media reported on Tuesday, due to expected higher demand from key buyers such as China and the Philippines.
Vietnam exported 1.1 million tonnes of rice in the January-March period, down 42.5 percent from a year ago, government statistics showed.
“As the export market has become favourable, with increasing number of contracts, the Vietnam Food Association is projected to double the first-quarter rice export volume,” the Agriculture Ministry-run Vietnam Agriculture newspaper said on Tuesday.
Vietnam’s rice exports to neighbouring China could climb six-fold this year to up to 2 million tonnes, a Vietnamese industry official was quoted as saying in late March, supporting domestic prices during the peak harvest season.
Vietnam has also signed contracts to export a total of 500,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines, traders said in late March.
Prior to the association’s projection, the agriculture ministry had forecast Vietnam’s rice exports this year could fall nearly 14 percent from 2011 to 6.1 million tonnes due to lower demand from key buyers.
The ministry’s monthly projection did not make any reference to comments by Agriculture minister Cao Duc Phat, who said on March 15 that Vietnam aimed to match last year’s record rice shipments of 7.2 million tonnes.
As of April 9, the food association raised the minimum export price for Vietnam’s 5 percent broken rice to $450 a tonne, free-on-board basis, from $425 earlier, and also increased the floor for the 25-percent broken grade to $425 from $400 earlier.
The new floors were the first increase this year, the association said in a statement.
The group is in charge of granting loading permission for rice exporters based on their signed contracts.
The group regulates the floor price to prevent sales at prices so low they would hurt Vietnam’s rice export revenues and the earnings of millions of farmers.
Given the prospect of more rice being exported in coming months, domestic companies will not raise their purchase target under an industry stockpiling plan of an equivalent 1 million tonnes of milled rice, designed to boost domestic prices, state-run Voice of Vietnam radio cited the food association as saying.
Companies have bought nearly 700,000 tonnes of milled rice under the plan between March 15 and April 6 and would complete the purchase on April 15 as scheduled, the association said.