Agricultural exports make solid mark in first quarter

Of the sector’s total export value reaching $13.53 billion Q1, fruit and vegetables, rice, and seafood left strong impressions with a combined value reaching $4.5 billion.

Particularly, export of fruit and vegetables bagged $1.23 billion, showing 25.8 per cent jump on-year. Rice generated $1.37 billion in total export value during the period, up 40 per cent, and seafood counted $1.86 billion, up 2 per cent on-year.

For the first time, fruit and vegetable exports surpassed the $1 billion mark in total value right in Q1. The Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association noted that the breakthrough was largely driven by off-season durian as many countries, especially Thailand, have bolstered export of this kind of fruit in the past year.

So far in 2024, Thailand has turned out to be Vietnam’s fourth-largest import market, with a 125 per cent jump on-year, pushing up its market share from 2 to 4 per cent.

Vietnam’s rice export in Q1 was also impressive, as the country raked in $1.37 billion in total value from exporting just over two million tonnes, up 40 per cent in value and 12 per cent in volume on-year.

With such figures, the country remains in the top three largest rice exporters globally, after India and Thailand.

Vietnam’s traditional rice import markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia all have surging demands for Vietnamese rice. Vietnam’s trade counsel in the Philippines revealed that each year it needs to import as much as four million tonnes of rice, and Vietnam is currently the number one rice supplier to the Philippines.

Vietnam’s total rice export volume to the Philippines amounted 3.1 million tonnes, generating $1.75 billion in total value.

Indonesia, Vietnam’s second-largest rice importer, has also bolstered import from Vietnam to ensure food security. According to its trade counsellor, the Indonesian government will soon open auctions to buy more rice, besides an auction conducted in January to buy 500,000 tonnes, in which Vietnamese exporters secured orders to supply more than 300,000 tonnes.

The Vietnam Food Association estimates that this year, along with ensuring domestic food security, the country can export over eight million tonnes of rice, bringing in over $5.5 billion in total export value.

On the part of businesses, Trung An High-Tech Farming JSC, a major rice exporter based in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, revealed that the company has closed many export orders already this year for export of high-quality rice to demanding markets.

“At the beginning of 2024, the company signed a string of export orders with volume reaching 1,500 tonnes for export to the EU, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Australia, with prices ranging from around $720 to $1,400 per tonne,” said CEO Pham Thai Binh.

The global rice market is being affected by diverse detrimental factors, such as a rice export ban from India, and an unfavourable climate causing negative impacts on food output in many countries. For Vietnam, India’s ban and increased rice import from China and Indonesia are conducive for the country’s rice export business.

Meanwhile, seafood export saw a contraction in 2023 when the country posted $9 billion in total export value, down $1 billion compared to 2022.

However, Q1 saw a rebound when the country’s seafood export value climbed 2 per cent on-year, according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said Vietnam’s shrimp export to the United States in Q1 posted a 26 per cent jump on-year. Export of tuna, basa fish, and crab to the US also rose 13-15 per cent.

Amid surging demands from major export markets as the US and EU, businesses are working on several growth scenarios to suit the situation. For instance, Vinh Hoan Corporation, Vietnam’s top basa fish exporter, has presented two scenarios, taking into account unfavourable factors such as consistent growth in input and logistics costs.

In the low scenario, Vinh Hoan aims to reach $445 million in total revenue, up 6.6 per cent on-year, yet its post-tax profit is expected to shed 12.9 per cent to $33.3 million. For the high scenario, the company aims for $479 million in revenues and $41.6 million in post-tax profit, up 14.6 and 8.8 per cent, respectively, compared to 2023. Over the first two months of 2024, Vinh Hoan reached over 15 per cent of its plan for the year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development figures indicate that the average export price of key export items rose in the first quarter compared to one year ago.

For instance, rice export averaged $660 per tonne, up 25 per cent; coffee fetched an average $3,180 per tonne, up 43.5 per cent; and pepper averaged around $4,150 per tonne, up 35.6 per cent, to name but a few.

Source: Vietnam Investment Review