EXCLUSIVE-Vietnam imports husked brown rice from India for re-exports, sources say

Credit: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

By Rajendra Jadhav

MUMBAI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Vietnam has imported husked brown rice from India for the first time in decades to process the grain and export the refined, white variety, trade and government sources said, as Hanoi tries to cash in on strong global demand for the staple.

Vietnam, the world's third biggest rice exporter, has imported at least 200,000 metric tons of husked brown rice from India between December and February, the sources said.

Vietnam is receiving brisk export orders for rice after India, the world's biggest exporter, imposed a ban on white rice exports in 2023.

Rice shipments from Vietnam surged to a record 8.3 million metric tons in 2023.

Surging exports have led to a drawdown in stockpiles in Vietnam, which is still keen to meet rising global demand, said an exporter in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.

Since rice paddy was not available in Vietnam for milling, some traders imported husked rice from India and made a good profit by processing and exporting the grain, he said.

Soon, other traders followed suit, the exporter said.

While India's husked brown rice was offered at around $500 per metric ton on a free-on-board (FOB) basis on the east coast, Vietnamese dealers sold the polished grain at over $600, the sources said.

Vietnam started buying husked brown from India only recently, and it now accounts for around 95% of India's total husked brown rice exports, they said.

Hanoi is currently importing around 70,000 metric tons of husked brown rice from India every month, said a government official, who declined to be identified, as he's not authorised to talk to the media.

Although the new season's supplies have started trickling in in Vietnam, Indian rice is still cheaper, the Kolkata-based exporter said.

Before India imposed the rice export ban, Vietnam imported 100% broken white rice to make animal feed and beer.

The Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Malaysia are leading importers of rice, and they depend on exports from India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

India currently allows exports of only parboiled and premium basmati rice varieties.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Kim Coghill)

((rajendra.jadhav@thomsonreuters.com; +91-22-68414378; https://twitter.com/Rajendra1857))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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