Vietnamese firms win rice contracts to Indonesia

Friday, 02/02/2024 16:30
In line with the 2024 plan, Indonesia was reportedly set to import approximately 3 million tonnes of rice, nearly matching the Philippines' planned import of Vietnamese rice, which will make Indonesia one of the world's largest rice importers and a key customer for the Vietnamese rice industry, reported Vietnam News Agency.
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A rice warehouse (Photo: VNA)

In January, the Indonesian National Logistics Agency (Perusahaan Umum BULOG) initiated a tender to import 500,000 tonnes of rice to bolster the country's food reserves. By January 30, BULOG completed the bidding process, with Vietnam as the winner of eight out of 17 packages, distributed among five companies.

According to BULOG, three major Vietnamese companies secured two lots each, including Loc Troi Group Joint Stock Company (LTG) winning lots 8 and 14, Northern Food Corporation (Vinafood 1) taking lots 15 and 16, and Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) obtained lots 3 and 9.

The remaining successful bidders were Kien Giang Import-Export Joint Stock Company, clinching lot 12, and Phat Tai Food Limited Company securing lot 11. Notably, Vietnam stood out as the only country with multiple companies participating and securing bids in substantial quantities (more than two lots). The sole Singaporean trading company R&S Trader PTE secured lots 10, 13, and 17.

The Vietnam Customs General Department data revealed Indonesia surpassed China to become Vietnam's second-largest rice export market with 1.16 million tonnes, totalling 640 million USD, a significant 877-992% increase compared to 2023.

Industry experts said the recently concluded 500,000-tonne rice tender with Vietnamese companies winning approximately 2/3 of the quantity signalled a positive outlook for a successful harvest post-Lunar New Year.

The latest data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) for January 2024 indicates that despite minor fluctuations, the country's rice export prices decreased by about 11 USD/tonne compared to the end of 2023, with late January 2024 data seeing the export prices of standard 5% broken rice at 642 USD/tonne.

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Photo for illustration. (Source: baodautu.vn)

At this price, Vietnam's 5% broken rice is currently around 13 USD/tonne lower than the equivalent grade from Thailand (according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association - TREA, Thailand's standard 5% broken rice is priced at 655 USD/tonne). In comparison to Pakistan, Vietnam's 5% broken rice is approximately 4 USD/tonne higher, with the current price in Pakistan at 638 USD/tonne.

Industry insiders said the current export prices of Vietnamese rice aren't high due to limited available stock, with transactions expected to resume at the end of February or early March. During this period, businesses focus on the domestic market and prepare for the Tet holiday, refraining from actively entering new contracts.

Updates on domestic rice prices on February 1 in various locations in the Mekong Delta region reveal that rice prices have been maintaining elevated levels. Key figures include IR 504 rice at 9,000 – 9,200 VND/kg; Fragrant rice 8 around 9,600 – 9,700 VND/kg; OM 18 at 9,600 – 9,800 VND/kg; OM 5451 at 9,300 - 9,500 VND/kg; Nang Hoa 9 remaining stable at 9,400 – 9,600 VND/kg; and OM 380 rice fluctuating around 8,600 - 8,800 VND/kg.

Regarding rice prices, a slight increase of 50-100 VND/kg compared to yesterday is noted. Currently, the price of IR 504 NL rice is at 12,500-12,600 VND/kg; while TP IR 504 rice is at 14,650-14,750 VND/kg.

Vietnam, Russia enhance tourism cooperation

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Russian tourists at Phu Quoc airport (Photo: VNA)

An online conference on Vietnam-Russia tourism cooperation has been recently held by the Vietnam Trade Office Branch in the Far East region, with the aim of attracting more tourists from the Far East and Siberia regions to the Southeast Asian nation, reported Vietnam News Agency.

Nguyen Hong Thanh, Vietnamese Economic and Commercial Consul, the head of the branch, said that the event attracted the participation of more than 30 delegates from Russia’s Moscow, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok cities, and Vietnam’s Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces.

It aimed to create an opportunity for the two sides to introduce, promote and find cooperative solutions to increase the two-way exchange of tourists, thereby helping to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and promote economic, trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Russia.

Vietnam welcomed more than 646,500 Russian tourist arrivals in 2019. But the figure reduced to less than 70,000 last year, although it has opened its full door to international visitors since March 2023, and offered 45-day visa exemption for Russian citizens since August 15, 2023. The main reason was said to be due to the lack of direct flights connecting Russian cities to Vietnamese localities.

Evgenia Mikhailova, Director of the Irkutsk Tourism Department, expressed her hope that travelling between the two countries will be more convenient in 2024 to help increase the number of Russian visitors to Vietnam.

Disbursement of public funds in 2023 meets 93.12% of target

More than VND662.59 trillion (US$27.14 billion) of public capital allocated for 2023 was disbursed as of January 31, fulfilling 93.12% of the Prime Minister’s assigned plan, VOV News quoted figures of the Ministry of Finance.

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Disbursement of public funds in 2023 meets 93.12% of target

The ministry said on February 1 that some VND88.28 trillion was disbursed for the socio-economic recovery and development programme, or 66.4% of the plan.

Sectors, ministries and associations completed 100% of the disbursement targets included the State Bank of Vietnam, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, the Vietnam Television, Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation, the Vietnam Journalists Association and Ha Nam province.

High rate of disbursement was recorded in Dong Thap province (99.8%), Quang Ngai (99.79%), Long An (99.19%), Ba Ria – Vung Tau (98.08%), and Vinh Phuc (96.88%).

In January, over VND16.9 trillion in public capital was disbursed, accounting for 2.58% of the Government’s plan.

With a view to speeding up public investment disbursement, the Ministry of Finance proposed ministries, sectors and localities quickly make capital allocation plans for their projects, and work to remove bottlenecks in a timely fashion, striving to disburse at least 95% of the public investment budgets.

Remittances to Vietnam hit record high of US$16 billion in 2023

Remittances sent by Vietnamese nationals abroad hit approximately US$16 billion last year, representing a year-on-year rise of 32%, VOV News quoted figures of the State Bank of Vietnam.

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Remittances to Vietnam in 2023 rise 32% to approximately US$16 billion. (Illustrative image)

Many countries have begun to remove immigration restrictions, creating conditions for Vietnamese residents to work abroad who then send more money back, analysed experts, explaining one of the reasons that remittances increased sharply last year compared to the previous years.

This is a good piece of news because the high sum has been received in the context of the global economic fallouts, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dinh Trong Thinh, a senior lecturer at the Vietnam National Academy of Finance.

This is a large source of additional capital for investment in the domestic private economic sector, greatly contributing to ensuring the lives of many families and supporting social security in the country, added the economist.

Sharing the same view, Dr. Nguyen Tri Hieu, a finance and banking expert, said that the sum is remitted by Vietnamese expatriates and Vietnamese guest workers abroad that supports national socio-economic development, as well as the central bank’s monetary policy management.

Currently, there are nearly 6 million Vietnamese people living, studying and working in 130 countries and territories worldwide. Ho Chi Minh City alone has about 2.9 million residents living and working abroad.

Notably, the largest source of remittances flowing into Vietnam comes from Asian countries. Among them, the three largest labour markets of Vietnam are Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

Nguyen Duc Lenh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, said Asia is a region that maintains economic and political stability along with increasingly expanding economic relations and labour cooperation with Vietnam. This market will therefore have an impact on remittance growth in the coming time.

Meanwhile, for the US and European markets, it is forecast that the amount of remittances to Vietnam will be lower than in the Asian region due to political instability, including the prolonged Russia - Ukraine and Israel - Hamas conflicts that will impact the growth of remittances sent to Vietnam from overseas Vietnamese.

Despite a challenging global economic landscape, Vietnam continues to stand resilient as one of the top 10 recipients of overseas remittances worldwide, behind India, Mexico, China, the Philippines, France, Germany and Ukraine, according to the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief and the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD).

This year, the amount of remittances to Vietnam is expected to increase by about 20% thanks to the global economic recovery./.

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