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Vietnam's export under pressure

Staff writer |
Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the export turnover of agro-forestry and aquatic products was estimated to reach $2.186 billion in May 2013.

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The export is grossing $10.705 billion in the first five months of the year, down 4.6 percent year on year. Vietnam's key agricultural exports like rice, coffee and rubber continued to run into difficulty.

In May, the export value of agricultural products was over $5.48 billion, down 13.1 percent year on year; seafood export was estimated at $2.206 billion, down 5.6 percent; and earnings from exported forest products were forecast at $2.105 billion, down 10.1 percent.

Rice topped export turnover among agricultural products but its overseas shipment volume and value decreased significantly. Vietnam exported 641,000 tonnes valued at $279 million in May, bringing the total volume to 2.86 million tonnes and the value to $1.265 billion, down 3.2 percent in volume and 7.9 percent in value from the same period of 2012.

The average rice export price reached $445 per tonne in the first four months of 2013, down 9.2 percent year on year.

Other staples also slumped in both volume and value like coffee, rubber and tea. The country shipped 109,000 tonnes of coffee worth $226 million in May, totalling 697,000 tonnes worth nearly $1.49 billion in the January - May period, down 23.2 percent in volume and 21.7 percent in value from the same period of 2012.

Rubber export reached only 55,000 tonnes with a value of $140 million in May, grossing 287,000 tonnes and $759 million from January to May, down 16.3 percent in volume and 26.8 percent in value from a year earlier.

Cashew nuts and black pepper continued to increase. In May, Vietnam exported 21,000 tonnes of cashew worth $137 million, up 9.7 percent in volume and 0.8 percent in value over the same period in 2012. Pepper export was estimated at 68,000 tonnes worth $446 million in the month, up 13.9 percent in volume and 9.6 percent in value.

Insiders said price declines and global demand shrinkage were behind Vietnam's agricultural export tumble. The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) forecast that the world rice market in 2013, especially in Asia where rice was most produced and consumed, tended to face more difficulty than in 2012 because of abundant supply amid shrinking demand.

China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese rice. As many as 910,153 tonnes of rice were exported to the neighbouring country for $381.2 million in the first five months, up 33.3 percent in volume and 29.2 percent in value year on year.

Vietnam also had remarkable growth in export turnover to other markets like Singapore (39.3 percent), Hong Kong (26.4 percent) and Angola (184 percent). China contributed 38.7 percent to Vietnam's rice export earnings in the first five months, followed by Malaysia (6.1 percent), Singapore (5.6 percent), Hong Kong (4.2 percent) and Indonesia (4.1 percent).

Germany and the United States remained the two biggest coffee markets of Vietnam in the first four months, respectively accounting for 13.5 percent and 11.8 percent of Vietnam's total coffee export value.


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