Vietnam buys Indian rice for first time in decades


Vietnam, the world’s thirdbiggest exporter of rice, has started buying the grain from rival India for the first time in decades after local prices jumped to their highest in nine years amid limited domestic supplies, four industry officials told Reuters.

The purchases underscore tightening supplies in Asia, which could lift rice prices in 2021 and even force traditional buyers of rice from Thailand and Vietnam to switch to India — the world’s biggest exporter of the grain. Indian traders have contracted to export 70,000 tonnes of 100% broken rice for January and February shipments at about $310 per tonne on a free-on-board basis, the industry officials said. “For the first time we are exporting to Vietnam,” B.V. Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters.

“Indian prices are very attractive. The huge price difference is making exports possible.” Vietnam’s 5% broken rice is offered at about $500-$505 per tonne, compared to Indian prices of $381-$387. Dwindling supplies and continued Philippine buying lifted Vietnamese rice export prices to a fresh nine-year high.

In 2020 India exported a record 14 million tonnes of rice, provisional data from the trade Ministry showed.

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