Global fluctuations boost VN economy

HCM CITY — The price fluctuation of essential products like rice, steel and gold on the world market in recent days has had a positive impact on the domestic economy and for consumers.

The average export price of Viet Nam’s rice is US$247 a tonne, up $40 a tonne compared to last year. The country has exported 1.87 million tonnes of rice worth $466 million so far this year.

Although the export rice volume has only increased ten per cent over the same period last year, its export value has increased by 37.6 per cent.

Truong Thanh Phong, general director of the Southern Food Corporation, said this achievement has reaped large profits for farmers.

According to the Viet Nam Food Association, the country has already signed contracts to export three million tonnes of rice this year. It will have exported 2.2 million tonnes of rice by the end of this month.

Viet Nam is expected to export four million tonnes of rice this year and reach an export revenue of $1 billion, Phong said.

The price of gold on the local market decreased to VND8.19 million a tael last week due to the decline of the international price of gold, which dropped to $420 an ounce after the increase of the US dollar against other currencies.

Truong Cong Nhon, head of the Saigon Jewelry Holding Company’s (SJC) Trading Department, said the decline of gold prices in past days has not increased the buying power of local people because little gold is purchased during this time of year.

The domestic gold price continued its slide to VND8.15 million on Monday and inched up slightly to VND8.16 million on Tuesday.

The domestic price of steel has also been on a decline. Local market prices are down by VND100,000 a tonne compared to April.

Pham Chi Cuong, chairman of the Viet Nam Steel Association, said the domestic steel industry might reduce prices for its steel products, as the ingot steel price on the international market was likely to go down as a result of China’s May 19 prohibition of the export of product steel.

With the ban on product steel in effect, Chinese steel manufacturers were likely to reduce their production output and demand for ingot steel, so the ingot steel price in the global marketplace would suffer a probable decline due to supply exceeding demand, Cuong said.

Viet Nam imported 20 per cent of its ingot steel from China in 2004. In the first quarter of this year, the country imported 40 per cent of its ingot steel from China.

Viet Nam News, May 20, 2005