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Trade Ministry proposes exporting 400,000 tons of rice this month

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HCMC – Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on April 6 wrote to the prime minister asking for rice exports to continue on a monthly quota basis, with the export volume in April expected to reach 400,000 tons.

Minister Anh said in his report sent to the prime minister that Vietnam’s rice exports in the first two months of the year rose by 31.7% in volume year-on-year, the highest ever recorded in three years. The rise in outbound rice shipments has driven local rice prices up by 20%-25%. The country’s rice exports are expected to reach two million tons of rice in the second quarter of 2020 due to strong demand in the global market.

As such, the country may export over 3.7 million tons of rice over the first half of 2020.

After a working meeting with the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) and some major rice exporters, the ministry noted that as of March 27, the export volume of rice that had previously been contracted for outbound sale but was not delivered totaled 1.5 million tons, with some 1.3 million tons needed for shipments from now until May 31. Some VFA members are storing 1.65 million tons of rice.

If local rice exporters comply with the prime minister’s order to suspend the signing of new rice export contracts, the VFA members’ stockpile of rice will increase by some 266,000 tons on May 31. The combined volume of rice stored by VFA members and other rice firms is currently 1.7 million tons of rice and 144,000 tons of unhusked rice, or 75,000 tons of rice.

As such, rice exporters proposed exporting 800,000 tons of rice in April and May, down 40% year-on-year. Some 400,000 tons of rice should be shipped to foreign markets during the final week of April, remarked Minister Anh.

The ministry also stressed that it is necessary to keep some 700,000 tons of rice for domestic consumption in April and May to ensure national food security during the coronavirus crisis, the local media reported.

Also, the ministry proposed the General Department of Vietnam Customs should be in charge of overseeing the amount of 400,000 tons of rice set for exports in April, while the Finance Ministry should direct the General Department of State Reserves to promptly purchase an adequate volume of rice for stocking, as assigned.

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