Cambodia Rice Sales to Vietnam Ahead of Forecasts

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Source: Reuters

Hanoi, Aug 12 - Cambodia has sold more than 1 million tonnes of rice to neighbouring Vietnam in the first half of this year, beating Vietnamese industry forecasts for the whole of 2009, a Vietnamese newspaper reported.

The increased sales from Cambodia, plus a bumper summer-autumn crop, will help Vietnam reach a record export volume of 6 million tonnes this year, Vietnam Food Association Deputy Chairman Nguyen Tho Tri told the Saigon Economic Times newspaper.

The Industry and Trade Ministry has an even higher forecast of 7 million tonnes for Vietnam rice exports this year, from 4.65 million tonnes shipped in 2008.

"The rice volume poured in quickly, having exceeded 1 million tonnes at the end of June because many Cambodian firms switched sales to Vietnam from Thailand," Tri was quoted as saying in an interview published late on Tuesday by the newspaper, which is run by the Ho Chi Minh City Industry and Trade Department.

Cambodia's rice production increased to 7.2 million tonnes for the 2008/09 season from 6.7 million in 2007/08.

Tri said demand for rice remained strong because the United Nations had called on countries to give food aid to many African countries facing serious food shortages.

"If they join the aid, they would choose Vietnamese rice due to its cheap price," he said. But he added that the economic crisis had slowed aid flow to Africa.

Rice prices in Vietnam softened slightly this month as the summer-autumn harvest has been peaking, industry reports show.

Five-percent broken rice prices have eased to 6,700-6,800 dong (37.6-38.2 U.S. cents) per kg, free-on-board without packing, against 6,750-6,800 dong in the last week of July, the Vietnam Food Association said.

The association has ordered 21 members to start buying a combined 400,000 tonnes of husked rice from Monday at a price of at least 3,800 dong per kg of paddy to stop price falls while export demand is slow.


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