Workers deliver rice bags at the Long An Food Company (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The price of Vietnamese export rice has hit a three-year high thanks to the rising import demands and the restricted supply.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the demand for Vietnam 5 percent broken rice, has been rising, hitting 390 USD per tonne in the early days of June, against 360 USD per tonne to 380 USD per tonne in late May.

This is the highest price since December 2014, the ministry said, attributing it to the rising global demand for rice imports, especially in the Asian region.

The export price rise has also caused the paddy price in the domestic market to soar. A tonne of 5 percent broken rice in the domestic market stood between 7.65 million VND (340 USD) and 7.75 million USD in early June, up 550,000 VND (24 USD) per tonne against last month.

The global rice market has been heating up after top importing countries, such as Bangladesh and the Philippines, announced to import roughly 950,000 tonnes of rice recently.

Bangladesh last month said it would buy 250,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice immediately and planned to increase its rice imports from Vietnam to 500,000 tonnes by the end of 2017.

It will also buy one million tonnes of Vietnamese rice annually until 2022.

The Philippines also said that it would issue a tender late this month or July to import 250,000 tonnes of the grain from key suppliers Thailand, Vietnam and India.

Besides this, to meet the demand for rice until the year-end, as well as up to the first quarter of 2018, the Philippines is expected to import at least 1.5 million tonnes to 1.6 million tonnes of rice.

Other regional countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have also planned to import rice, while the demand for rice in China and Africa is also on the upward trend.

While the demand for rice is rising, supply sources are restricted, even "being exhausted", international experts said.

At a rice conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 29, executive manager of Rice Trader Jeremy Zwinger said that the global sources of rice supply have been constricted. Even Thailand’s abundant stockpile of rice has fallen sharply.

In Thailand, in May, the rice stockpile was only 4.32 million tonnes.

In late May, Thailand floated tenders to sell 1.82 million tonnes of rice. Thailand’s ability to sell rice in the coming months will be severely limited, as the country’s paddy harvest, having an output of three million tonnes, is in September.

In Vietnam, the domestic stockpile is also restricted with most of the rice being exported to China. The country’s new paddy harvest season is in August.

The same trend is seen in India where rice exporters are facing the challenge of meeting their export contracts, until the next harvest season.

Experts have forecast that the global rice price will increase by roughly 20 USD per tonne in the next three months.

They have advised rice exporting enterprises to not sell the crop in a hurry, hoping that the price of 5 percent broken rice would increase to at least 400 USD per tonne.-VNA