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VN rice exporters worried of Thai competition

Update: September, 09/2013 - 09:41

Thailand's decision to sharply reduce the price of 100B rice – which is equivalent to Viet Nam's 5 per cent broken rice - from US$430 per tonne to $380 to pare its inventory has affected global prices, including in Viet Nam, according to the Viet Nam Food Association.— Photo ndhmoney

by Le Hung Vong

Thailand's decision to sharply reduce the price of 100B rice – which is equivalent to Viet Nam's 5 per cent broken rice - from US$430 per tonne to $380 to pare its inventory has affected global prices, including in Viet Nam, according to the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA).

Prices of OM 0676 paddy in the Mekong Delta dropped from VND5,000-5,1000 per kilo in late August to VND4,500-4,600 on September 3.

The prices of IR50404 paddy fell from VND4,700-4,800 to VND4,200-4,300 per kilo in the same period.

Rice exporters said they would face a bigger challenge in the near future since Thailand is planning to unleash its huge inventory of 17 million tonnes on the world.

Tran Thanh Van, deputy director of the Can Tho-based Gentranco Joint Stock Company, said many customers who buy rice for exporting to China, Africa, and some Asian nations have recently stopped buying and are watching the market's movements.

Thailand's decision to cut the price is a blow for Vietnamese firms since foreign customers are likely to prefer Thai rice, he said.

Le Truong Son, general director of the Dong Thap-based Docimexco JSC, told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Sai Gon Economic Times) that Vietnamese exporters cannot compete with their Thai rivals because of the difference in quality.

Viet Nam is exporting 5 per cent broken rice to China for around $395 per tonne and to African nations for $380 - $385, slightly lower compared to early last month.

Exporters reported lower demand from Chinese customers since it is harvest season now in that country.

To help rice exporters overcome their difficulties, the VFA has urged the Government to extend its interest subsidy programme by one month to mid-October to prevent food companies from rushing to sell the grain when their loans fall due.

Following its decision to stockpile 1 million tonnes of rice from the summer-autumn crop, the Government provided the companies with three-month loans that fall due in the middle of this month, VFA chairman Truong Thanh Phong said.

The association also sought permission from the Government to buy another 300,000 tonnes of rice from the summer-autumn and autumn-winter crops to stabilise domestic prices.

The VFA has also called on rice exporters to explore new markets, he said.

It has urged the Government to negotiate with Angola and Kenya on selling rice so that exporters can begin procedures for shipments, Phong added.

Overseas Vietnamese

The property market is no longer the most attractive investment channel for overseas Vietnamese, and a large proportion of their remittances so far this year has flowed into businesses.

According to the HCM City branch of the State Bank of Viet Nam, investment in real estate fell from over 50 per cent of remittances in 2011 to less than 20 per cent this year.

Almost half has gone into production and other businesses, and the rest into supporting their families.

Viet Kieu (Overseas Vietnamese) investors do not have confidence in the recovery of the property market, analysts say.

Remittances through commercial banks in HCM City so far this year are estimated at $2.5 billion, or 75 per cent of the figure for the whole of last year.

The remittances to HCM City usually surge in the fourth quarter, so this year's remittances are expected to reach $4.5 - $4.7 billion, or an increase of 10 to 15 per cent.

Minh said remittances by overseas Vietnamese come mainly from the US, Europe, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Remittances by guest workers accounted for 20 per cent of the total figure.

National Day holiday

Thanks to various promotions and steady room rents, tourist destinations around the country reported a sharp increase in the number of foreign visitors during the National Day holiday on September 2.

Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan Provinces and Hoi An City in central Viet Nam reported increases in tourist arrivals.

Central Binh Thuan Province welcomed 43,500 visitors, 4,000 of them foreigners. The provincial tourism authorities said the average occupancy at major hotels and resorts such as the Ham Thuan - Mui Ne Resort in Phan Thiet town and the Hon Rom Tourism Park was 70 per cent during the period.

Hoi An tourism authorities said more than 2,500 travellers, mainly foreigners, visited Cham Island, while over 1,000 came to Cua Dai Port between 31 August and 2 September, double last year's numbers.

Hoi An itself welcomed 5,000 visitors, half of them foreigners.

According to the Khanh Hoa tourism authorities, there were some 26,000 visitors during the national holiday, a year-on-year rise of 5 per cent. The figure included more than 7,000 foreigners, a 23 per cent up over last year. The number of domestic visitors was down 9.7 per cent.

Despite the huge number of visitors, Khanh Hoa tourism companies and travel agencies managed to keep their service quality high. — VNS

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