Vietnam shipped 330,501 tonnes of rice abroad in February, earning 147.08 million USD, up 7.57 percent in volume and 15.3 percent in value according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

The VFA also reported that the average price rose by 29.89 USD per tonne, with the FOB (free on board) price standing at 445.03 USD per tonne.

The result pushed the country’s total rice export volume in the first two months of this year to 637, 756 tonnes, worth 274.62 million USD, it said.

However, the figures represented a drop of 13.53 percent in volume and 14.2 USD per tonne in price, added the association.

The VFA also forecast that March’s export volume will reach 500,000-550,000 tonnes.

As much as 49 percent of Vietnam ’s total exported rice was shipped to the Philippines , while China and African countries consumed 28.3 percent and 7.94 percent of the total respectively.

Meanwhile, the domestic rice price was stable but rather high in February and is likely to decrease in the coming time after all rice destined for the Philippines is sent and the harvest peaks, the association predicted.

Experts said in the first quarter of this year Vietnam has faced fierce competition from Thailand and may suffer great damage if Thailand dumps its rice on the world market.

However, cross-border trading to China could help Vietnam ensure its sales and keep domestic price stable, they said.

According to the Department for Cultivation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the 2013-2014 winter-spring crop, the rice bowl of Mekong Delta region has a total rice field area of 1.6 million hectares with an estimated output of nearly 11 million tonnes, with 4.27 million tonnes ready for export. -VNA

In March and April, the region is likely to harvest about 7.5 million tonnes of rice, the department said.

According to the VFA, price stabilisation measures should be applied to avoid a plunge in the domestic rice price, as the global value is forecast to drop sharply when Thailand sells out its rice inventory.