Falling rice price is only short-term, upward trend to continue: experts

February 28, 2024 - 08:36
Rice prices are dropping on the psychology of waiting for clearer market trends from rice import plans of importing countries, and the coming harvest season.
A paddy field in Phú Yên Province. The upward trend of rice prices is expected to continue in 2024 on limited supply due to India’s rice export restrictions and the impacts of El Nino on farming. — VNA/VNS Photo Tường Quân

HÀ NỘI — The recent falls in rice prices are only short-term; the upward trend will continue in 2024 on limited supply, providing significant opportunities for Việt Nam’s rice export, analysts have said.

According to data from Việt Nam Food Association, export rice prices of Việt Nam are moving sideways after sharp decreases. The price of 25 per cent broken rice dropped by $20 per tonne in the past week to US$584 per tonne and 5 per cent broken by $19 to $609, slightly lower than Thailand’s. Meanwhile, 100 per cent broken rice is at $508 per tonne, $25 per tonne higher than Thailand’s.

Rice prices are dropping on the psychology of waiting for clearer market trends from rice import plans of importing countries.

In addition, the main Winter-Spring crop, typically with good rice quality and output, is coming in two weeks, which will significantly impact the trend of rice prices, according to agriculture expert Hoàng Trọng Thuỷ.

Enterprises are waiting for the coming harvest season to prepare for their signed contracts and set price frames for their export contracts in the second half of the year.

Farmers also tend to wait for better points of time to sell their rice with expectation for higher prices, while the El Nino is increasing worries about global rice support.

The US Department of Agriculture has lowered its forecast for global rice supply in 2023-24 crop by 4.5 million tonnes from the previous forecast of 518 million tonnes. Meanwhile, the demand is estimated at 522 million, meaning a shortage of around 4 million which will keep rice prices at high levels in 2024.

Thuỷ also said rice importers know that Việt Nam was entering the largest rice harvest of the year so they were not in a hurry to buy, but waiting for good prices.

The psychology of waiting would continue for a short time. However, the upward trend of rice prices would continue in 2024 on limited supply from India’s rice export restrictions and the impacts of El Nino on farming.

Go sustainable

"The important thing is how to harmonise benefits among farmers, exporters and the nation,” Thuỷ said, pointing out that the roles of exporters were critical.

In fact, few enterprises are capable in terms of capital to stock rice. It’s necessary to increase lending and create favourable conditions for enterprises to access credit at reasonable rates for rice purchases, which will help them to be more active in ensuring supply sources for exports and in establishing relationships with farmers, according to Thủy.

Farmers should also be provided with support in terms of payments for fertilisers and pesticides for production in the context of rising input costs.

A combination of solutions would help the rice industry to develop sustainably, Thuỷ said.

Nguyễn Như Cường, Director of Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Việt Nam targeted to maintain 7.1 million ha of rice cultivation in 2024 with a total output of 43 million tonnes and export at least 8 million tonnes.

According to Seasia Stats, Việt Nam is the third largest rice exporter in the world with an export volume of 7.6 million in 2023-24, coming after India with an export of 16.5 million tonnes and Thailand with 8.2 million tonnes.

Latest updates of the General Department of Customs showed that Việt Nam had exported 663,209 tonnes of rice as of February 15 to earn a total of $466.6 million.

The average rice export price was $703.50 per tonne, 33.65 per cent higher than the same period last year.

In 2023, Việt Nam earned $4.68 billion from exporting 8.1 million tonnes of rice in 2023, representing increases by 35.3 per cent and 14.4 per cent against 2022.

ASEAN is the largest rice export market of Việt Nam, accounting for 61 per cent of the country’s rice export volume. Việt Nam’s rice is also exported to China and Ghana. — VNS

Indonesia to import more rice, an opportunity for Việt Nam

 The Indonesian Government on Monday decided to increase the rice import quota for 2024 by 1.6 million tonnes to make up for the shortage due to the impact of El Nino on the rice yield in 2023, bringing the total rice import volume to 3.6 million tonnes, according to the Việt Nam Trade Office in Indonesia.It is expected that Indonesia will continue to open more rice tenders besides the 500,000-tonne tender on January 17, in which Vietnamese companies won approximately two-thirds of the quantity.Vietnamese firms should keep a close watch on these moves to take advantage of the chance to expand rice exports to this market, the trade office said.In January, Indonesia was the third largest rice export market of Việt Nam with a volume of 27,250 tonnes worth $18.08 million at the average price of $663.3 per tonne.In 2023, Indonesia imported 1.17 million tonnes of rice from Việt Nam, worth $640.25 million, representing a rise of 878 per cent and 992 per cent, respectively.