While Vietnamese consumers have to buy rice at high prices, foreign countries now can buy rice from Vietnam cheaply.
The retail rice price in Mekong Delta’s provinces increased by 10 percent (1000-2000 dong per kilo) in the first half of April. Meanwhile, foreign buyers admit that they now can buy rice cheaply from Vietnam.
On Sunday morning April 17, Hoang in Tan Thuan Dong ward in HCM City came to a nearby rice shop to buy rice and she was so surprised when hearing that the price of this kind of rice increased by 1500 dong per kilo. Hoang said “two weeks ago, she purchased the same kind of rice at 95,000 dong, while she had to pay 110,000 dong last Sunday.”
“I heard that farmers are harvesting crops in the western provinces, so I cannot understand while the rice price is increasing,” Hoang said.
Not only normal rice, but all other kinds of rice have seen the prices increasing by 1000-2000 dong per kilo. Taiwanese scented rice, for example, is now selling at 17,000-18,000 dong per kilo instead of 15,000-16,000 dong, while Thai scented rice at 18,000 dong and Jasmine at 16,000 dong.
“The rice price has been increasing steadily by 50-100 dong per kilo every day since the beginning of April,” said Hai Khuyen, the owner of the rice shop on Phan Dang Luu Street in Binh Thanh District in HCM City. “As such, the price has increased by 10 percent since the end of March”.
The rice price has also been increasing in Mekong Delta, the rice granary of Vietnam. Do Xuan Bang, Director of Duy Hung Thinh Company in Dong Thap province related that he signed a contract on providing 4000 tons of material rice to an export company at 8150 dong (25 percent broken rice) and 9100 dong (5 percent broken rice).
Bang said that the contract was signed at the peak harvesting time, when the rice price tended to decrease slightly, therefore, Bang decided not to collect rice immediately. However, he seemed to make a wrong decision, because the rice price has unexpectedly increased since the beginning of April.
“The material rice has increased by 600 dong per kilo to 8700-9700 dong per kilo – an unreasonably big increase,” Bang complained, adding that he can foresee that he will take loss with the deal.
Nguyen Thi Bong, a small merchant in An Giang Province, who collects rice from farmers to resell to export companies, also said that the unhusked rice price was 5800 dong per kilo last week, while it has soared to 6300 dong per kilo.
Analysts say that it is now the end of the winter-spring crop, and farmers tend to store rice instead of selling out when hearing that the prices tend to increase, which has pushed the rice prices up.
“It is very difficult to buy rice now. Even if I can buy rice, I dare not husk rice, because I fear the rice price would go up the next day and I cannot buy more,” Bong said.
According to the business transaction division under Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines, on March 24, 2011, via the agreement at the government level, 200,000 tons of rice was sold to the Philippines at $480 per ton, including freight cost. The importer will make payment 270 days after the goods arrive in the Philippine port. $480 per ton is the low price, according to the Filipino National Food Authority NFA .
Some rice traders say that Vietnamese enterprises have signed the contracts on exporting 1.5 million tons of rice with deliveries from April, of which more than 0.5 million tons have been sold at $430-450 per ton (five percent broken rice). In many cases, 25 percent broken rice has been sold at less than $400 per ton.
With the export prices, enterprises would incur the loss of 20-50 per ton, if considering that the material rice price on board is at 9600-9700 dong per kilo.
According to the Vietnam Food Association VFA, by April 1, enterprises had signed the contracts on exporting 3.3 million tons of rice.