Vietnam's pepper exports recover but price unstable

Vietnam's pepper export turnover in 2021 is estimated to reach the highest level since 2018 thanks to higher export prices, but the global pepper market development looks set to be unpredictable in 2022. In 2021, Vietnam's pepper export volume is estimated to reach 260,000 tons, earning US$950 million. The export decreased 9 per cent in volume but jumped 44 per cent in value year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA). This year has marked a strong recovery of Vietnam's pepper industry after four years of struggling with difficulties due to over supply and a strong reduction in prices.

The purchasing prices of the commodity rose by 40-44 per cent from VND51,000-53,000 per kilo in the mid-February to VND76,000-79,500 on March 19. The price surged to a record of VND90,000 per kilo at the end of October, the highest level since late 2017. The existing purchasing prices are 53-54 per cent higher than at the beginning of this year and much higher than in recent years, signaling a new bullish cycle for the domestic industry.

The average export price of Vietnamese pepper is US$4,000 per ton, according to the association. The main reason for the sharp increase in prices is the reduction in areas growing pepper trees. Farmers decreased the area due to the lower pepper price in recent years, and changed to other produce. The pepper output in 2021 is estimated at 180,000 tons, down 25 per cent compared to 2020. Output is expected to continue to decrease slightly in 2022.

Nguyen Nam Hai, VPA chairman, said that in 2021, Vietnam's pepper export price had been increasing because supply could not meet demand and the quality of local pepper had reached export market requirements.

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