Vietnam imposes floor price for low grade rice

PHOTO: Vietnam imposes floor price for low grade rice

HANOI - Vietnam will later this week impose a floor price of US$370 (S$451) a tonne for low-quality 35 percent broken rice for export, a trader and officials said on Wednesday, as it looks to halt price declines with demand tapering off towards year-end.

The new price, based on a free-on-board Saigon Port basis, will take effect from Thursday, a Vietnam Food Association official said by telephone from Ho Chi Minh City.

“We are not targeting any buyer, but the minimum price for the 35 percent broken rice is there so other (higher) grades can follow suit,” the official said.

Buyers and sellers can decide export prices for other varieties, the food association said in a statement, but the government hopes the floor price for the 35 percent broken grain will influence other grades.

Vietnamese rice export prices have been easing in recent weeks due to weak demand during the year-end holidays, while China, the top buyer of rice from Vietnam this year, has been taking small cargoes in the past weeks, traders said.

Based on the new floor, the minimum price for the popular 25 percent broken rice would be at US$375 a tonne, and 15 percent broken grade at US$380 a tonne. High-grade 5 percent broken rice stood at US$415-US$420 a tonne this week.

“Supplies of broken rice are plentiful so the price for lower grades is low,” the Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

Vietnam’s rice exports this year have jumped 13 percent from 2011 to a record high of 8.05 million tonnes, the government said on Monday.

China imported 1.92 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam in the first 11 months of this year, more than triple its purchase of nearly 300,000 tonnes in the same period in 2011, data from Vietnam’s farm ministry showed.