Lower prices will make it easier to sell rice: exporters

Though the prices of Vietnamese 5% broken white rice fell US$20 per tonne in a week, most local rice exporters said the decline would make sales easier.

According to the Vietnam Food Association, since March 29, the rice export price has dropped sharply by US$20 per tonne after reaching the highest price in the past nine years.

Currently, the asking price of 5% broken white rice was at US$498-502 per tonne, the price of 25% broken white rice was US$473-477 per tonne and 100% broken white rice was at US$428-432 per tonne.

The association also said prices of 5% broken white rice from Thailand stood at US$490-494 per tonne while that from India was at US$408-412 per tonne.

The news wire service Reuters reported that Thailand's rice price has fallen to its lowest level in the past four months due to the decline in domestic prices and exchange rates when the Thai baht has weakened by 3.5% compared to the previous year since the beginning of March 2021, while the prices in India have been adjusted to reflect the decline in the Indian rupee.

Phan Van Co, director of Vrice Co Ltd, said, “The reduction in selling prices for Vietnamese exporters will help sell local rice in the export market.”

Co said recently, Vietnamese rice prices were always higher than competitors’ such as Thailand and India, which made it difficult to compete because some importers were turning to India to buy 5% broken white rice at lower prices though they were still buying fragrant rice from Vietnam.

Co said that Indian rice was cheap and had stable quality while transporting costs from India to Africa was also cheaper than from Vietnam, adding the lower prices also made major rice importing countries such as China, the Philippines, and Indonesia buy Indian rice for their reserves.

Vietnamese 5% broken rice was now too expensive compared to the international market, each tonne of the rice was about US$100 higher than Indian rice, plus with the higher transportation costs, it was difficult to compete.

Nguyen Van Thanh, director of Phuoc Thanh IV Company, said, “Though the asking prices of local rice decreased, it is still high compared to the current prices and much higher than in the last year.”

Thanh also said the reduction will help Vietnamese rice compete better amid expensive freight.

When prices of 5% broken rice fell, exporters said they would keep the prices high-end rice such as Dai Thom, Jasmine and ST 24, stable.

Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company, said, “Trung An's orders still maintain a high price from US$600 to nearly US$1,000 per tonne.”

Binh said as his business has a good grasp of the market tastes, the products still win customers’ hearts and are sold at good prices.

Vrice's director Phan Van Co, stated since 2020, the prices of fragrant rice exported to markets in the EU has not changed, saying, "We have long-term business with our partners, in addition, Vietnamese rice has found a stable customer segment for many years, so exports are good."

Like Vrice, Phuoc Thanh IV Company currently exports fragrant Dai 8, OM 5451 rice products to countries in Asia and the Middle East with relatively good prices, of which, Đài fragrant 8 rice is purchased by partners at US$545-550 per tonne.

Director Thanh of the firm said they could sell their high-quality products at good prices as his enterprise has created a habit for foreign consumers to use quality rice products originating in Vietnam. Thanh estimated a more exciting export market for Vietnam from April as there would be more customers than in the first quarter.

According to the latest statistics by the General Department of Customs, in the first 15 days of March, the country exported 203,320 tonnes of rice with the turnover at more than US$111 million. Accumulated from the beginning of the year to March 15, the rice export volume reached 858,605 tonnes with turnover of more than US$470 million. The average value of rice export in the first months of 2021 reached US$548 per tonne, higher than the same period last year. The price was US$464 in the same term last year. The main rice export markets of Vietnam were the Philippines, mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.