Many Vietnamese rice exporters have started to stock rice in anticipation of a possible price hike caused by Thailand’s policy to buy its local products at high prices next month, Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper reported.
In Ho Chi Minh City, rice retail prices have been rising by up to VND2,000 a kg during the past few weeks.
“Since early this month, the distributors have been announcing price hikes almost every day,” Hai Khuyen, owner of a rice store in Phu Nhuan District, said.
“The lowest price is now VND11,000 (US$0.5) a kg, up by VND500 compared with early this year,” she said, adding that price of rice with higher quality fetched up to VND22,000 a kg.
Analysts said export prices of Thai rice would climb to $750 a ton from $620 a ton since October 7, when the Thai government began to buy rice from local farmers with higher prices.
Since Thailand is the world’s biggest rice exporter, export price from other countries, including Vietnam, would also change accordingly, they said.
Nguyen Trung Kien, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), said the Mekong Delta countries would harvest more than 500,000 hectares of paddy crops towards the end of this year.
In theory, he said, there was always adequate rice supply for domestic market and it was unlikely for the market to have a sudden shortage or price fluctuation.
However, he also admitted that the price adjustment in Thailand would also affect domestic prices.
“Global importers would turn to other markets when Thai rice prices up, which could force prices in Vietnam to soar,” he said.
Therefore, many local rice exporters have stockpiled a large amount of rice in case prices fluctuate.
Khuyen said she had stockpiled enough products to sell in a month.
Meanwhile, Huynh Tin Dung, director of Minh Cat Co Ltd, said the company had spent VND6 billion on a 600-ton stockpile of aromatic rice.
Some other member companies of VFA also have plans to stock rice to meet domestic demand.