Vietnam rice exports increase due to unexpected year-end demand

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. —Vietnam’s rice exports for market year 2014-15 are revised up from 6.3 million tonnes to 6.5 million tonnes, due to unexpected demand from Vietnam’s traditional markets at the end of calendar year 2015. For the 2015-16 market year, rice exports are revised down from 7.1 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes, due to expected low carry-over stocks from the market year 2014-15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported on Jan. 8.

Total rice production for the market year 2014-15 is expected to reach 45.18 million tonnes of paddy rice, or approximately 28.24 million tonnes of milled rice, according to the report. This is a slight increase compared to market year 2013-14 production (about 100,000 tonnes of paddy). The increase in production is mainly due to the larger planted and harvested area of winter crop, due to low level flooding in the Mekong River Delta (MRD).

The autumn crop is mainly located in the southern provinces. The MRD typically accounts for more than 80% of the total autumn crop planting area. As of Dec. 15, 2015, the harvest of the market year 2014-15 autumn crop is nearly completed, due to decreased water supply caused by lower flooding water level. For crops in some planted areas, yield is expected down (from 5.58 tonnes per hectare to 5.5 tonnes per hectare) resulting in lower production (from an expected 16.06 million tonnes to 15.84 million tonnes).

Also due to the lower flooding water level, farmers were able to expand their areas for winter crop, the latest crop of the year. The harvested area for winter crop was revised from 1.7 million hectares to 1.8 million hectares, the report said. The market year 2014-15 winter crop production was revised up from 8.16 million tonnes to 8.64 million tonnes.

In the recent year, Vietnam has exported rice to neighbor countries, mainly China, via border trade. However, the trade volumes have not been recorded in the official numbers of both selling and buying countries. The report therefore cannot include the number of such trade volumes into the export numbers and has to consider these volumes as a part of local consumption.
Rice stock in market year 2014-15 is estimated to be very low due to unexpected increases in demand from Indonesia and the Philippines. Rice stock in market year 2015-16, however, is expected to be at an identical low level compared to market year 2014-15, which will prevent Vietnam from exporting large amounts in market year 2015-16.