Vietnam to Sell 1.5 Million Tons of Rice to the Philippines

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Feb. 4 – Vietnam has agreed to sell 1.5 million tons of rice to the Philippines this year in a deal that would account for 30 percent of its forecasted exports.

The Philippines is the world's largest buyer of rice and its pact with Vietnam is expected to fulfill its grain needs for the year. Last year, Vietnam sold 1.6 million tons of rice to the Philippines.

Previous reports said that the Philippines would buy 1 million tons of rice at US$380 a ton plus cost and freight, with 500,000 tons to be delivered in February and March.

Shipments to the Philippines this year could actually reach about 1.7 million tons, traders in Vietnam's rice dealing hub, Ho Chi Minh City, told Reuters.

"There have been many positive signs this year for Vietnam's rice export market," the government said in a statement.

The Vietnam Food Association said that it had increased floor rice export prices by up to 6.4 percent starting Feb. 3 because of strong export demand.

The government said Vietnamese rice exporters were holding talks with other rice buyers from Singapore and other African nations. Vietnam's rice exports for the year is expected to reach 5.0 million tons, an increase of about 6.4 percent over 2008.

The base export prices for the 5.0-percent and 25-percent broken grades are now priced at US$420 and US$390 a ton, from its previous price of US$400 and US$370.