In addition to rice exports from Myanmar, Pakistan and India, Vietnamese exporters had to contend with Thailand selling off a huge stockpile of its rice.
In the first quarter, rice exports increased more than 50% compared to the same period last year, mostly because of contracts signed last year.
But with domestic rice prices higher than global rice prices in March and April, many domestic enterprises were unable to sign new contracts, leading to a fall in exports in the second quarter.
Asian countries remained the main buyers of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 67% of total rice exports, followed by Africa (16.4%) and the Americas (11.9%), according to a report released at a VFA meeting held on July 8.
However, in the first half of the year, total rice exports to Asia fell by 5.4%, dropping by 9% to China and 52% to the Philippines.
Unlike the fall of exports to Asia, Vietnamese rice exports to Africa and the Americas rose 10.8% and 11%, respectively, compared to the first half of last year.
During the period, exports of 5% and 25% broken white rice fell by 29% and 26%, respectively.
At the same time, exports of fragrant rice increased by 30% and 15% broken white rice by 18%, while sticky rice rose by 145%.
At the VFA meeting, the association adjusted the total export target for the year from 6.5 million to 5.65 million, excluding border trade, a year-on-year fall of 14%.
For the first six months, a total of 2.7 million tonnes of rice were exported.
Huynh Minh Hue, VFA’s general secretary, said that local rice exporters expected to ship three million tonnes in the last half of the year, a drop of 22% over the same period last year.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the meeting, VFA Chairman Huynh The Nang said the target was based on the association’s data analytics, and that market conditions could change if the Philippines, Indonesia and others bought more Vietnamese rice.
Lam Anh Tuan, director of Thinh Phat Co Ltd, said the target was feasible, as the price of Vietnam’s 5% broken white rice was the most competitive in the region.
Besides official exports, enterprises have also exported rice to China via border trade since 2012, with annual export volume reaching 1.5-1.7 million tonnes.
VFA said the Ministry of Industry and Trade would organise a meeting later this month to discuss problems faced by the rice production sector.