Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cambodian rice prices to rise as supplies down


PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): Rice prices will continue to rise in Cambodia over the next few months as supplies decrease following the yearend harvest, national media on Thursday quoted an expert as saying.

Retail prices for high-quality rice currently float between 2, 400 riels (about 0.59 U.S. dollar) to 2,800 riels (about 0.69 U.S. dollar) per kg and lower-quality rice goes for around 2,000 riels (about 0.49 U.S. dollar) per kg, Yang Saing Koma, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), told local newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

That is about the same as early February last year, he said.

Prices of these two types of rice could rise by 30 to 40 percent respectively by April, as supplies run low in the months after the yearend harvest, he said.

Last year, rice prices almost doubled, going from around 2,000 riels (about 0.49 U.S. dollar) per kg in December 2007 to 4,000 riels (about 0.98 U.S. dollar) per kg in April 2008, he said.

"It can't be like it was last year, because on the one hand the production in some countries has improved" and on the other hand the speculators trying to cash in on the rising prices last year ended up further driving up those prices, he added.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry, unmixed rice is expected to top 7 million tonnes for the 2008 and 2009 harvest in Cambodia and exports could reach 3 million tonnes in 2009.

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