Vietnam, Thailand bag rice deal

Vietnam and Thailand on Thursday won a contract to supply 750,000 metric tons of rice to the Philippines over the next six months for $319.95 million, or P14.9 billion.

State-run National Food Authority said it would use the rice imports as additional buffer in preparation for the prolonged El Niño dry spell.

NFA earlier invited Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to supply 750,000 MT of 25-percent brokens well milled-long grain white rice under the government-to-government deal. Cambodia did not join the auction.

Vietnam through Vinafood II initially offered to supply the entire volume at $431.25 per MT during the auction Thursday. Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce offered to ship 300,000 MT at $430 per MT.

NFA rejected both offers, which were above the government’s reference price of $426.83 per ton. Both countries were given until 3 p.m. to revise their offers.

Vietnam’s second offer was to ship 450,000 MT at $426.60 per ton while Thailand agreed to match the offer of Vietnam for the remaining 300,000 MT.

“We should expect a notice of award in the next three days,” said NFA special assistant to the administrator Patricia Galang.

NFA earlier said it would import an additional 250,000 MT of rice this year and another 500,000 MT next year under a government-to-government procurement arrangement to prepare for drought.

The importation of 500,000 MT of rice was approved by Food Security Council to cover the projected production deficit in 2016. The shipment would be delivered early next year.

The Food Security Committee is headed by the National Economic and Development Authority. The members are the Agriculture, Trade and Finance Departments, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomic Services Administration, Philippine Statistics Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Irrigation Administration and the NFA.

NFA said the first shipment of 125,000 metric tons would arrive by end-November while another 125,000 MT would be shipped by end-December.

It said for the 2016 imports of 500,000 MT, the first shipment of 175,000 MT would arrive by end of January, 175,000 MT by end of February and 150,000 MT by end of March next year.

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